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The Economics of Supported Employment: What New Data Tell Us

by Robert Cimera

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Cimera, R. (2012). The Economics of Supported Employment: What New Data Tell Us. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 37(2), 109-117.

This paper reviews the literature on the economics of supported employment. By comparing results from research conducted prior to, and after, 2000, several important findings were identified. The first was that individuals with disabilities fare better financially from working in the community than in sheltered workshops, regardless of their disability. This is especially true given that the relative wages earned by supported employees have increased 31.2% since the 1980s while the wages earned by sheltered employees have decreased 40.6% during the same period. Further, supported employment appears to be more cost-effective than sheltered workshops over the entire "employment cycle' and returns a net benefit to taxpayers.



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