Vocational Rehabilitation: Predicting Employment Outcomes for Young Adults with Disabilities
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Working within the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to explore the effects of individual characteristics, in-school experiences, post-school experiences, and contextual factors on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) closure status among 4,443 young adults with disabilities who had received and completed services from Oregon VR between 2003 and 2013. This study analyzed extant data from the Oregon Rehabilitation Case Automation System (ORCA), an integrated case management database that collects and tracks demographic characteristics, service records and employment data on each individual who receives services from VR. Four logistic regression models were developed using Hosmer, Lemeshow, and Studivant's model building approach to test the effects of individual characteristics, in-school experiences, post-school experiences, and contextual factors on VR closure status. Seven risk factors were identified that decrease the probability of young adults with disabilities achieving a positive VR closure status: (1) being female; (2) having a primary disability of mental illness; (3) having a primary disability of traumatic brain injury; (4) having an interpersonal impediment to employment; (5) receiving Supplemental Security Income at application; (6) closing VR services during federal fiscal year (FFY) 2008; and (7) closing VR services during FFY 2009. Five protective factors were identified that increase the probability of young adults with disabilities achieving a positive VR closure status: (1) participation in the Oregon Youth Transition Program; (2) earning at least a high school completion certificate by closure; (3) receiving a higher number of VR services; (4) closing VR services on or below the median number of days to closure; and (5) closing VR services during FFY 2004. These findings support the hypothesis that individual characteristics, in-school experiences, post-school experiences, and contextual factors are predictors of positive VR closure status among young adults with disabilities. Further, these results provide evidence that transition services and supports provided to young adults with disabilities receiving services from VR can help them to achieve positive VR closure status.