Title

Transition success: What factors relate to VR acceptance and employment outcomes?

Date of Completion

January 2008

Keywords

Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Education, Special

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The process of transition from high school student to independent adult can be challenging. It is even more challenging for youth with disabilities due to their greater disadvantage compared to their peers. With regard to employment, and income, Americans with disabilities aged 16 and older lag well behind other Americans (National Organization on Disability, 2004). Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is an important path of transition to employment for youth with disabilities. Empirical evidence has been reported on the effect of client characteristics (e.g., race, age, gender) on VR acceptance and employment outcomes for adults with disabilities. Yet, there have been scarce studies focusing on transitional youth (youth with disabilities between the age of 18 to 25) among different racial and ethnic groups. ^ The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of characteristics of transitional youth on VR acceptance rates. This study also examined how the characteristics of transitional youth and VR service deliveries (i.e., on-the-job training, job placement, number of services received, cost of rehabilitation) affected employment outcomes. This study was based on an ex post facto research design. The secondary data was derived from the VR Service computer files (RSA-911) of an eastern state for the years 2001 through 2005. The sample consisted of 3,240 transitional youth who applied for VR programs in that state during those four years. Logistic regression was used. The best model for each research question was identified and interpreted. The results indicated that individuals who received public financial support, were European Americans, or had a high school degree were more likely to be accepted for VR services. The results also indicated that females, members of racial minority groups, or those with no personal income at application were less likely to achieve competitive employment outcomes. Job placement service was beneficial, and provision of higher cost of services and more services increased the likelihood of competitive employment outcomes. These results have implications for collaborative efforts of education and rehabilitation programs, potentially resulting in more effective VR services and better employment outcomes of transitional youth. ^