Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Nazarov, Z. E., Golden, T. P., & von Schrader, S. (2012). Prevocational services and supported employment wages. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 37 (2), 119 - 129.
Title:  Prevocational services and supported employment wages
Authors:  Nazarov, Z. E., Golden, T. P., & von Schrader, S.
Year:  2012
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  ‘Train-then-place’ and ‘place-then-train’ are the two main approaches that have emerged in recent decades to prepare individuals with disabilities for work. The belief that there are prerequisites to employment is the basis of the ‘train-then-place’ approach. In this approach the belief is that the individual with a disability should learn general skills and show work readiness before being placed in a job. The ‘place-then-train’ approach first matches the individual with a job related to their interests and choice, with the job training specific to the job occurring after placement. Services associated with supported employment are commonly found using the ‘place-then-train’ approach. While supported employment is often paired with the ‘place-then-train’ approach, there is commonly pre-vocational services offered prior to employment for supported employment clients.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study is to determine if pre-vocational services for supported employment clients yields better employment outcomes. The relationship between the use of pre-vocational services and the subsequent hourly wage of individuals in supported employment programs is evaluated.
Setting:  The setting of this study is six years of data (2005-20100 from the New York Integrated Supported Employment Report (NYISER) data management system. Quarterly data on all supported employment clients in New York are included in the NYISER data management system.
Study sample:  The study sample of this study is all consumers of supported employment in the NYISER system from January 2005-October 2010. During these 5 years, there were 44,272 consumers receiving a variety of employment services. Due to censoring, the final study sample consisted of 20,440 consumers, as these are the consumers who began receiving supported employment services on or after January 1, 2005 and ended the services before October 2010. The average age of participants is 33 years old and males comprise 57% of the sample.
Data collection and analysis:  Six years of longitudinal data was used in the study. Prevocational services received, if any, and hourly wages were the main focus of the study. Of the 20,440 individuals in the study sample, 804 received prevocational services, specifically participating in sheltered workshops. A subsample was created to determine hourly wages. The subsample was comprised of 10,604 consumers. Participants with mental retardation and mental health conditions were the largest groups in the sample. Of all the participants in sheltered workshops, these two groups made up over 77% of the participants. The mean number of jobs while receiving supported employment services was just less than 2. The mean hourly wage was $7.29 and 86% of the time the employers were paying the wages. The study found that individuals who receive prevocational services are less likely to be male, usually older, change jobs frequently while receiving services, and may remain in the system longer. The analysis found that individuals who receive prevocational services earn on average $1.02 less per hour.
Findings:  The study finds that receiving prevocational services has a negative impact on wages. The data is statistically significant. The study finds hourly wages to be negatively impacted by prevocational services, but the results do not indicate what mechanisms are specifically causing this negative effect. Three explanations for this negative impact are explored: the expectations of employers and society of the individual’s skills and abilities are lowered as a result of participation in prevocational services; the individual participating in the prevocational services may have lowered expectations of themselves as a result of receiving the services; in 86% of the cases in this study where prevocational services were received, the employer was paying the wages, indicating that the employer directly impacts the hourly wage.
Conclusions:  The study concludes that receiving prevocational services results in a lower hourly wage. Prevocational services are found to negatively impact the expectations of providers, consumers, and/or employers, in terms of the individual’s abilities and skills. The study focuses specifically on programs in New York, so it is not determined if the findings can be applied to the general population, as supported employment programs vary from state to state. Because of the diverse and large population of New York, the study does have high external validity.