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Longitudinal Study of the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Program
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  1. Longitudinal Study of the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Program Highlights & Significance

  2. Background • Conducted by RTI International for RSA • Study mandated by Congress • Initiated in the fall of 1992 • Assess performance of Public VR Program • Study sample: 40 local VR offices; 30 states; 8,500 applicants • Tracked over three year period

  3. Report 1: How Consumer Characteristics Affect Access to, Receipt of, and Outcomes of VR ServicesHow demographics affect access to and receipt of VR services • 21.3 million working-age Americans have a disability • 3.3 million of those persons might benefit from VR services • In FY 95, the VR Program served 1.25 million persons • In 2001, 233,000 individuals entered the workforce, earned $3.4 billion in wages and paid $977 million in federal/state/local, Social Security and Medicare taxes (Ref. CSAVR)

  4. Report 1: How Consumer Characteristics Affect Access to, Receipt of, and Outcomes of VR Servicescontinued • Characteristics that made a person more likely to be accepted for VR services: • Higher self-esteem • Significant disability • Receiving financial assistance such as SSI/SSDI • Eligibility for services was not related to a person’s age, gender, race or work history (except for current employment)

  5. Report 1: How Consumer Characteristics Affect Access to, Receipt of, and Outcomes of VR Servicescontinued • At end of study period, 69% of VR consumers achieved an employment outcome as a result of VR services • Of those achieving an employment outcome, 75% were working at jobs in the competitive labor market; 25% held non-competitive jobs

  6. Report 1: How Consumer Characteristics Affect Access to, Receipt of, and Outcomes of VR Servicescontinued • More than 80% of persons who are eligible for and receive VR services have a disability that meets the VR Program’s criteria as significant or most significant (state determined)

  7. Report 1: Significance (CSAVR determined) The Public VR Program is successful at placing individuals with disabilities in both competitive and non-competitive jobs

  8. Report 2: VR Services and OutcomesDetails of services received and relationship between receipt of services and outcomes • 97.6% of VR consumers received an average of 12 services (assessment, counseling, job placement, on-the-job training, etc.) • 84% received medical, psychological or psychiatric evaluation • 20.7% of consumers received assistive technology

  9. Report 2: VR Services and OutcomesDetails of services received and relationship between receipt of services and outcomes • Services that increase the likelihood of higher earnings include receipt of assistive technology devices, participation in business/vocational training, two- or four-year college/university, and receipt of tools, uniforms, equipment or stock • Of those achieving an employment outcome, 83% were working after one year; 79% after two years; 76% after three years

  10. Report 2: VR Services and Outcomescontinued • These consumers earned an average of $7.33/hour; rate increased to $9.62/hour after three years (minimum wage is $5.15/hour) • At exit from the VR Program, 32% of consumers in competitive jobs were earning about $15,990/year (200% above poverty level) • Among individuals who completed VR services, 44% no longer needed public assistance

  11. Report 2: VR Services and Outcomescontinued • The quality of the relationship between the consumer and counselor was significantly related to employment and earning levels • 66% of persons exiting the program into competitive jobs said if they had to pay for services, they would purchase “exactly the same” services they received from the VR Program

  12. Report 2: Significance (CSAVR determined) VR consumers successfully retain their employment and increase their wages and attribute this success to the VR services and counselors

  13. Report 3: The Context of VR ServicesInfluence of the local environment and VR offices on outcomes VR consumers receive as a result of VR services • 81% of VR offices are located in communities with ready availability of the Employment Security Commissions • 66% reported availability of employment-related services under Javits-Wagner-O’Day Program/JTPA/WIA • 72% of offices have access to comprehensive centralized rehabilitation centers

  14. Report 3: The Context of VR ServicesInfluence of the local environment and VR offices on outcomes VR consumers receive as a result of VR services • Communities in which VR offices deliver services range from small towns to large cities. Office catchment areas range from about 60,000 to 250,000 people, averaging about 120,000 • Over 60% of VR offices are accessible to mental health, counseling and substance abuse treatment • About half are accessible to vocational training (56%), higher education (51%), and medical services (47%)

  15. Report 3: The Context of VR Servicescontinued • VR counselors average 11 years in rehabilitation counseling; 41% hold a bachelor’s degree; 56% hold a master’s degree; 17% hold Certified Rehabilitation Counselor certification • 90% of offices have requirements for number of employment outcomes counselors should achieve per year • 66% of counselors list “personal commitment to the success of consumers with whom they work” as the most important factor in effective performance of their job

  16. Report 3: Significance (CSAVR determined) VR consumers achieve success if they have access to employment-related services and higher education, as well as to committed, experienced VR counselors

  17. Report 4: Results of the VR ProgramSynthesized all findings to address overall question: Given the relationship among consumer characteristics, contextual factors and VR services, what are the results of the VR program? • Report 4 summarized data from prior reports, but did not state a final conclusion • RTI to prepare additional research briefs, a methodology report and public use data files with full documentation

  18. Longitudinal Study of the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Program • CSAVR concludes that the Longitudinal Study data supports the fact that the Public VR Program works • RSA has supported CSAVR efforts to communicate this message • Some initial interest from Wall Street Journal and NPR to tell story • Members of Congress received press release stating study results • Public relations effort moving forward aggressively