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Comparing Employment Outcomes of Vocational Rehabilitation Consumers with Hearing Loss to Other Consumers and the General Labor Force

The research in this study compares the differences of employment outcomes among three research populations: consumers with hearing loss (HL, the target group, vocational rehabilitation (VR) consumers, and the general labor force (GLF). The four major employment outcome areas examined were occupational category, earnings, projected job growth, and transferable skill levels. These areas were chosen as they evaluate occupational outcome beyond successful closure of VR cases.

The research material used to evaluate the four employment categories was taken from databases from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics. Results indicated little differences between the two VR consumer groups, but differences between both consumer groups and the general labor force were found across all employment outcome areas. The most significant differences were in the areas of type of occupation and earnings. This research showed that consumers from the hearing loss and vocational rehabilitation population's earnings were similar to the lowest paid 10% of the general labor force. In the area of type of occupation, the majority of the percentage of the general labor force was employed in Managerial, Professional, Paraprofessional, and Technical areas and the majority percentage from both groups of VR consumers were employed in Service occupations.

Capella (2003) suggests in this article that the findings related to earnings and type of job should not be present as personas with disabilities, excluding those with cognitive impairments, are just as capable of performing professional or technical positions and yet they are severely underrepresented in that occupational category. Capella (2003) gives implications for counselors regarding these findings. Insure that customers are aware of all options they may have for occupation and encourage the customer not to settle, but to seek a position that may have greater potential for a career future. Capella (2003) also suggests that VR counselors conduct labor market research to identify types of occupations, duties required, earnings expected, projected growth, and likelihood of promotion. The more informed consumers are about the jobs that are available to them, the more likely a good job match will be found, resulting in long-term employment.


Capella , M.E. (2003). Comparing Employment Outcomes of Vocational Rehabilitation Consumers with Hearing Loss to other consumers and the General Labor Force. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 47 (1), 24-33.