Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Siperstein, G.N., Heyman, M., & Stokes, J.E. (2014). Pathways to employment: A national survey of adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 41 (3), 165-178.
Title:  Pathways to employment: A national survey of adults with intellectual disabilities
Authors:  Siperstein, G.N., Heyman, M., & Stokes, J.E.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Survey research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Twenty-five years ago the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to legislate that there be equal opportunity and access for Americans with disabilities. Unfortunately very little real progress has been made in the area of employment for individuals with disabilities. The employment rate of adults with disabilities (all categories) was around 40% when the ADA was enacted and it now hovers around 33%. By contrast the employment rate of adults without disabilities is estimated to be around 76%. It is important to know what types of characteristics lead to employment of adults with disabilities in order to better form policies and services.
Purpose:  The current study focused on adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). The purpose was to explore factors that contributed to positive employment outcomes.
Study sample:  The survey used for this study was administered to 1,055 parents/guardians of adult children with ID via the Gallup Organization. Most of the sample was white (84%) and male (59%) with a mean age of 36.3 years. Most of the adults lived with their families (60%) and received SSI/SSDI benefits (76%).
Data collection and analysis:  Once Gallup had initially randomly screened US households to determine the study sample the selected participants were then interviewed in-depth.
Findings:  Characteristics that emerged that were associated with positive employment outcomes in competitive settings included: younger age, getting work experience earlier in life, and lack of emotional and behavioral problems. It is interesting to note that very few participants in competitive employment ever worked in sheltered workshops.
Conclusions:  These results demonstrate the importance of getting young adults with ID into community based employment settings as early as possible. This will result in work experience, can help alleviate emotional and behavioral problems, and keep adults with ID out of sheltered workshops.

Outcomes:  Employment acquisition