Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Richard G. Luecking, EdD, Ellen. S. Fabian, PhD, Kara Contreary, PhD, Todd C. Honeycutt, PhD, and Debra Martin Luecking, EdD (2018). Vocational Rehabilitation Outcomes for Students Participating in a Model Transition Program. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 61 (3), 154-163.
Title:  Vocational Rehabilitation Outcomes for Students Participating in a Model Transition Program
Authors:  Richard G. Luecking, EdD, Ellen. S. Fabian, PhD, Kara Contreary, PhD, Todd C. Honeycutt, PhD, and Debra Martin Luecking, EdD
Year:  2018
Journal/Publication:  Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin
Publisher:  Sage Publications
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1177/003435521771316
Full text: 
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  Transition outcomes for students and youth with disabilities continue to underperform peers without disabilities. Identifying and implementing more effective transition delivery models is a key factor in improving employment after school. In 2005, a compilation of research-based transition delivery models were published in Guideposts for Success. These models were used in numerous agencies across the United States. Further, recent studies have added to the wealth of information on applying various transition delivery services to students and youth. These studies reinforce the importance of work experience before the end of high school, the involvement of families, and service coordination between service providers and community partners. In addition, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (2014) allocated funds for VR support services and help in identifying and serving the needs of disabled students and youth. Application of these funds and new transition methods was used in Maryland as part of the Maryland Seamless Transition Collaborative. Using strategies from Guideposts for Success, MSTC implemented various methodologies to aid in transition from school to work.
Purpose:  The study sought to answer the following questions: Were there differences in outcomes between those youth who participated in the service model? Further, were there differences in closure outcomes for participants verses those who did not?
Study sample:  The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) provided data for the analysis. The sample group included MTSC and non-MTSC youth under 22 years old. Further, the sample group was determined eligible for services between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2013 and came from VR referrals in 11 counties in Maryland. The number of individuals included 377 MTSC and 6,111 non-MTSC youth.
Intervention:  The intervention covered a 3-year period and began in 10th grade for students on a diploma track and the third to last year before leaving school. Further, intervention included seven parameters which included discovery, individualized work experiences, individualized paid integrated employment, family supports, early VR case initiation, systems linkages, and coordination with instructors and staff. As a means of maintaining fidelity in the program, Technical Assistance (TA) was given to teachers and staff to build capacity at each site. Those involved were given intensive training and adhered to fidelity standards supplied by the TA liasons
Data collection and analysis:  Using administrative records, a range of variables were included in the study that involved demographic analysis, VR service and outcomes, and a diverse set of VR process measures that helped evaluate each aspect of the intervention process. The analytical approach relied on data from school districts. Since the criteria for selecting students was highly variable from district to district, analytical methods were put into place to filter any skewed results. Unfortunately, the nature of the sample group and the selection process causes one to recognize the possibility of bias in the final results.
Findings:  In testing the hypothesis that MTSC participants differed from non-participants, the study found 91% of MTSC and 74% of non-MTSC participants obtained an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). MTSC participants also faced a much shorter time for eligibility determination (almost ½ the time). MTSC participants also received more job search assistance and on the job supports whereas non-MTSC participants received more rehabilitation technology and other services. The average cost of services was about $1,200 more for non-MTSC participants. Looking at closure outcomes, 42% of MTSC and 24% of non-MTSC participants were employed. Fewer MTSC participants were unemployed at case closure than non-MTSC participants. Interestingly, MTSC participants earned less than non-MTSC participants and worked slightly fewer hours. Other closure variables could not be compared due to differences between VR experiences. Ultimately, the research revealed five key findings: MTSC intervention resulted in shorter time from eligibility to an IPE. Fewer dollars were spent on MTSC participants as a result of integration of resources, this group received more work-focused services through VR. In addition, MTSC participants earned higher employment rates, and they earned slightly less wages and slightly fewer hours of work.
Conclusions:  The study shows that career/work focused transition services can have a profound effect on employment outcomes for youth. Management of services already in place shows that costs are reduced and greater chances of employment are possible. Additional research is needed to examine the long-term benefits of such an approach in schools.

Disabilities served:  Multiple disabilities
Populations served:  Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Interventions:  Career counseling
Job coach
Job search and placement assistance
Outcomes:  Full-time employment
Increase in hours worked
Increase in number of months of employment