With the recent enactment of the Workforce Innovation Opportunities Act (WIOA), the role of the federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) system in helping youth with disabilities transition to employment is receiving heightened attention. New ways of dedicating resources to transitioning youth will be mandated by WIOA. How can the VR system most effectively meet the needs of youth with disabilities who are preparing for transition to employment? What can VR counselors do to make the most effective use of VR resources in this endeavor? The RRTC for VR Practices for Youth is conducting a series of studies to examine these questions. In this issue of the RRTC newsletter we introduce one of these studies.
Featured Study: 
Prospects for an Impact Evaluation of Project SEARCH:
An Evaluability Assessment


Arif Mamun, Lori Timmins and David C. Stapleton - Mathematica Policy Research

Study Purpose: 

The purpose of the study is to conduct an evaluability assessment for Project SEARCH. The program works closely with vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to improve prospects of integrated employment for transition age youth with disabilities. Because VR agencies are putting renewed attention on these elements with the promulgation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the study creates an opportunity to assess whether the program's interactions with VR agencies could be evaluated rigorously. 


Study Overview: 

We present several design options for a rigorous impact evaluation of Project SEARCH. Project SEARCH is a high school to work transition program that has emerged as a promising approach to address the challenges related to improving employment outcomes of youth with disabilities. Based on information we gathered from document reviews and from site visits conducted for this evaluability assessment, the study presents two leading evaluation designs. First, under the existing setting scenario, we propose a matched comparison group design. Second, under a demonstration scenario, we propose a randomized experimental evaluation. We also discuss a few alternative design options that are less appealing than those recommended.

Study Research Questions: 

What evaluation approaches are feasible for conducting a rigorous impact evaluation of Project SEARCH?

Study Impact: 

Results of this study will provide VR agencies with options to evaluate the impact of Project SEARCH.

Upcoming Issue: 

Updates and implications of initial findings from our research.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living,
Grant Number: 90RT5034-02-01

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