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: 
The association between individual- and agency-level factors and employment-related outcomes of transition-age youth seeking vocational rehabilitation (VR) services


Todd Honeycutt and Frank Martin of Mathematica Policy Research (MPR)

Study Overview: 

This study will analyze Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)-911 case service records, matched to Social Security Administration (SSA) administrative and earnings data, to document the services and employment-related outcomes of youth and young adults with disabilities served by State VR Agencies (SVRA). The RSA-911 data for federal fiscal years 2004 through 2013 will be used and matched to SSA administrative records to develop application and closure cohort files for youth and young adults who applied for VR services in fiscal years 2004 through 2007. We expect to analyze a sample of about 150,000 VR applicants ages 16 to 24 in each year, or about 600,000 youth in total.

Study Research Questions: 

RQ1. How do SVRAs vary in their employment-related outcomes for youth seeking services? Differences across SVRAs would be consistent with observations that agencies vary widely across other types of characteristics.


RQ2. How will employment-related outcomes differ by youths' individual-level characteristics (such as age at application and sex)? Other studies have found differences in service use and exiting with employment (such as by gender, race, disability status, and Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit status), and we expect the same to be true of employment-related outcomes for youth.


RQ3. How will employment-related outcomes vary by access to and receipt of VR services? Service factors that may be positively related to the employed-related outcomes for youth include the receipt of VR services, length of time to writing the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE), and the types of services provided.


RQ4. How do employment-related outcomes change with agency-level characteristics?  We expect that agencies that are in order of selection or that have declines in total annual expenditures will have negative outcomes for their youth applicants.
Study Impact: 

This study will help analyze the factors that may be influential for youth and young adults' successful transition. This will assist SVRAs in implementing policies and practices that promotes factors that lead to positive employment outcomes for youth.


Graduate Certificate Program Announcement:

Obtain a Graduate Professional Studies Certificate through the University of Maryland. This one year online program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals in the field by offering one class at a time. There are a limited number of partial scholarships available. Classes start the fall of 2015 and deadline for application has been extended to July 15, 2015. For more information: click here.
Upcoming Issue: 

Study highlight: Evaluating and strengthening the evidence base
on VR services for youth

Funded by Department of Education - PR/Award #H133A100007 CFDA #84-133B

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