Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Weekly Wage Exploration of Vocational Rehabilitation Service Recipients: A Quantile Regression Approach

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Weekly Wage Exploration of Vocational Rehabilitation Service Recipients: A Quantile Regression Approach

Article excerpt

Over the last decade, policy shifts have placed increased attention on integrated employment of people with disabilities. Yet despite various policies, directives, and legislation, people with disabilities continue to face limitations in their labor market participation (Boeltzig, Timmons, & Butterworth, 2009; Butterworth, Hiersteiner, Engler, Bershadsky, & Bradley, 2015a; U.S. Senate, 2013a). Among different types of disabilities, people with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) were identified as having more barriers to employment and experiencing lower employment rates than other populations (Butterworth, Winsor, Smith, Migliore, Domin, Ciulla, Timmons, & Hall, 2015b; Boeltzig et al., 2009; Berry & Caplan, 2010; Nord, 2016). The National Core Indicators (NCI) Project data indicated that only between 10%-15% of working-age adults supported by state IDD agencies worked in integrated employment, including individual and group supported employment or individual competitive or supported employment (Bradley, Bershadsky, Giordano, Hiersteiner, Kennedy-Lizotte, & Butterworth, 2015; Butterworth et al., 2015b; Nord et al., 2015). Moreover, previous studies found that even when employed, individuals with IDD work with limited hours at lower wages (Boeltzig et al., 2009; Nord & Nye-Lengerman, 2015; Grigal, Migliore, & Hart, 2014; Migliore, Timmons, Butterworth, & Lugas, 2012).

Employment outcomes research often includes specific employment outcome measures such as rates of employment, type of employment, hours worked, weekly or monthly earnings (Cimera & Burgess, 2011; Grigal, Hart, & Migliore, 2011). When considering the economic well-being of people with IDD, earnings and hours worked are considered as key outcome variables (Nord, Luecking, Mank, Kiernan, & Wray, 2013; Migliorie et al., 2012). Beyond investigating whether people with IDD are employed or not, it is also critical to investigate additional employment outcomes, such as the extent to which individuals worked and earned every week, which allows us to measure quality indicators of employment. Analyzing weekly hours worked alone only provides a partial picture and lacks information on how working hours actually resulted in meaningful economic outcome such as hourly or weekly earnings. Earnings can be a useful indicator of the quality of employment, economic mobility, and the quality of life of people with IDD (Nord et al., 2013).

Without adequate income, economic self-sufficiency through employment alone remains unattainable (Nord et al., 2015). Literature indicates that most workers with IDD employed in the community typically earn wages near the national minimum and work about 20 hours per week on average (Cimera, 2010; Cimera & Burgess, 2011; Human Services Research Institute & The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services, 2012), resulting in an income below the national poverty line (Walls, & Dowler, 2014; Park, Nam, & Park, 2016). Moreover, the earnings become even more critical when people with cognitive disabilities, including people with IDD, are experiencing poverty rates at four times the national average (i.e., 32.8% versus 11.6%) (Erickson, Lee, von Schrader, 2017). In addition, previous studies found that people with disabilities were more likely to live in households below the poverty line (Butterworth, Hall, Smith, Migliore, Winsor, Timmons, & Domin, 2011; Houtenville & Brucker, 2013; Nord et al., 2013; U.S. Senate, 2014; Brucker, Mitra, Chaitoo, & Mauro, 2015; Iemmi, Blanchet, Gibson, Kumar, Rath, Hartley, Murthy, Patel, Weber, & Kuper, 2016; Hanga, DiNitto, & Wilken, 2016). The trend from 2003 to 2009 shows that the overall percentage of people with a cognitive disability living below the poverty line is increasing over time and across most states with the exceptions of Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia (Butterworth et al. …

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