Analysis of Vocational Rehabilitation Transition Outcomes of Youth from Illinois
Hunnell, Jessica M.
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The transition to postsecondary education and employment is natural after high school graduation, but is often more difficult and less successful for students with disabilities. The Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)/Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) works in partnership with students with disabilities from around Illinois to provide the Successful Transitional Experience Program (STEP). The purpose of this study was to examine the outcomes of youth with disabilities in the state of Illinois participating in VR transition programs. Five years of transition data from the Illinois VR system was analyzed to determine what demographic and case level factors were different and predicted rehabilitated or nonrehabilitated outcomes. Extensive data cleaning left a total of 22,440 youth to be analyzed. Results indicated there were differences in outcomes based on race, location, disability type, number of services received, office region, and case expenditure. Further, positive postsecondary and employment outcomes were predicted by race and office region, whereas negative outcomes were predicted by race, type of disability, and case expenditure. The data revealed that a small percentage of participants are being successfully rehabilitated in the VR system (16.06%). Based on the data findings, it was recommended that DRS/VR alters and updates the STEP program. It was also recommended that there is a need for clarification of the intake system and eligibility requirements for VR services. Important information was revealed that can be used to help youth with disabilities throughout Illinois achieve positive employment and postsecondary educational outcomes.