Panel: Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities: Current Conditions and New Evidence from Promising Interventions
(Employment and Training Programs)

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
8206 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Annette Bourbonniere, University of Rhode Island
Discussants:  Teresa Grossi, Indiana University

Job Quality for Americans with Disabilities
Debra L. Brucker and Megan Henly, University of New Hampshire

Employment, Social Relationships, and Self-Determination: Understanding How Employment Service Settings Relate to Better Outcomes
Derek Nord1, Kristin Hamre1, Sandra Pettingell2 and Louise Magiera1, (1)Indiana University, (2)University of Minnesota

Can Progressive Employment Improve Outcomes for Vocational Rehabilitation Customers? Evidence from Vermont
David Mann1, David Stapleton1, James Smith2, Alice Porter2 and Hugh Bradshaw2, (1)Mathematica Policy Research, (2)Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Early Findings from the Wisconsin Promise Project: Implications for Policy and Practice
Catherine A. Anderson, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Ellie C. Hartman, University of Wisconsin

Relative to their non-disabled peers, people with disabilities are less likely to be employed, more likely to live in poverty, and more likely to rely on government program assistance for income support, medical insurance, and other basic services. Though not a panacea for the challenges described above, when people with disabilities obtain and maintain competitive, integrated employment, it can lead to economic independence and reduced reliance on government assistance. Consequently, increasing employment among people with disabilities is a policy goal shared by policymakers and stakeholders alike.

This panel will describe aspects of current labor market conditions for people with disabilities and then present new evidence on the effectiveness of two interventions designed to help people with disabilities work. Before presenting new evidence about program effectiveness, it is important to describe the current state of the labor market among people with disabilities. The panel’s first presentation by Dr. Debra Drucker will discuss findings from the 2014-2016 Current Population Survey regarding job quality among people with disabilities. She and her co-author found that when it comes to jobs with above median wages and health and insurance benefits, people with disabilities were relatively less likely to have such jobs. However, after controlling for other factors, disability status was not itself predictive of job quality status. The second presentation by Dr. Derek Nord will explain how systemic and disability-related factors affect the receipt of employment services and how receiving those employment services, in turn, affects key social outcomes.

After describing current labor market conditions for people with disabilities, we present rigorous evidence from two new interventions designed to help people with disabilities enter and remain in the labor force. The third presentation by Dr. David Mann will present impact estimates from Vermont for the progressive employment (PE) model. PE is a new employment model being used by state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies in four states. PE’s core idea is for the employer and employee to try out the employment arrangement before either commits to it. The evaluation uses quasi-experimental methods and Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation administrative data. The final presentation by Dr. Catherine Anderson will discuss early findings from the Wisconsin site of Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE). PROMISE is a randomized controlled trial funded by four federal agencies that seeks to improve outcomes for child SSI recipients by providing intensive, customized transition services and supports. Wisconsin has one of the six PROMISE sites. Early results from the demonstration suggest that in Wisconsin PROMISE improved engagement, employment, and earnings outcomes.

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