State Differences in the Vocational Rehabilitation Experiences of Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities (Journal Article)

Publisher: Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, vol. 42, no. 1 (subscription required)
Jan 30, 2015
Authors
Todd Honeycutt, Allison Thompkins, Maura Bardos, and Steven Stern

Key Findings:

  • The percentage of a state's transition-age youth population who applied for VR services ranged from 4 to 14 percent; the percentage of applicants who received VR services ranged from 31 to 82 percent; and the percentage of youth who received services and closed with an employment outcome ranged from 40 to 70 percent.  

State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies play a critical role in helping transition-age youth with disabilities attain their vocational goals, though there is insufficient knowledge about how agencies serve this population. OBJECTIVE: The study examines the extent to which states' transition-age youth with disabilities apply for VR services, receive services, and are employed at case closure. METHODS: The analysis included five ratios for each state VR agency reflecting their involvement with transition-age youth at distinct stages, using data from the RSA-911 Case Service Report and other sources to identify a cohort of individuals who applied between 2004 and 2006. RESULTS: The percentage of a state's transition-age youth population who applied for VR services ranged from 4 to 14 percent; the percentage of applicants who received VR services ranged from 31 to 82 percent; and the percentage of youth who received services and closed with an employment outcome ranged from 40 to 70 percent. Several agency- and state-level factors were correlated with these ratios. CONCLUSIONS: The wide variation in transition statistics suggests that policymakers could improve VR services for transition-age youth by developing specific standards and guidelines for VR agencies serving this population, though this study points out several limitations and challenges with such an approach.