Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Wehman, P., Revell, W.G., & Brooke, V. (2003). Competitive employment: Has it become the “first choice” yet?. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 14 (3), 163-173.
Title:  Competitive employment: Has it become the “first choice” yet?
Authors:  Wehman, P., Revell, W.G., & Brooke, V.
Year:  2003
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Disability Policy Studies
Publisher:  Hammill Institute on Disabilities
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No

Structured abstract:

Background:  Supported employment as a viable means to employ people with significant disabilities in competitive employment has grown over the last 20 years. State sponsored sheltered workshops have closed and the funds have been reallocated to supported employment. The Rehabilitation Services Administration of the United States Department of Education even amended the term “employment outcome” to refer only to work in an integrated setting. Progress still needs to be made: of the 130,000 people receiving day rehabilitation services in fiscal year 1999 only 15% were in supported employment. Among persons supported by state mental retardation and developmental disabilities agencies in fiscal year 2000 (MR/DD) there is a 3:1 ratio of non-competitive employment to competitive employment.
Purpose:  The purpose of this article is to address the issue of availability of competitive employment for persons with significant disabilities.
Findings:  All parties benefit from supported employment. The individual with a disability gets a real job, the employer gets a valued worker and support to keep him or her there, the family is able to see the individual in a real job and feel the pride associated with it, and the taxpayers spend less than they would to keep that individual in a sheltered workshop. The key indicators to measure the quality of supported employment programs are as follows: competitive employment in integrated work settings, informed choice and control, level and nature of supports, employment of individuals with significant disabilities, amount of hours worked weekly, number of persons working regularly, well-coordinated job retention system, employment outcome monitoring and tracking system, integration and community participation, and employer satisfaction.