Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Washington State Supported Employment Program Best In The Nation

When community-based, competitive employment for individuals with severe disabilities was first being introduced in the academic literature during the late 1970s and early-1980s, some authors questioned whether such activity was fiscally appropriate. Specifically, many of these authors pointed out that, while individuals with intellectual and other disabilities could perform the tasks required for meaningful employment, they may not actually benefit monetarily from being competitively employed.

However, since the mid-1980s, numerous cost efficiency studies have examined economic outcomes of supported employment from the worker’s perspective. The vast majority of these have found that, while supported employees may lose governmental subsidies as a result of working within their communities, the competitive wages that they earn more than make up for these economic losses. In other words, supported employees generated a net monetary benefit as a result of working in their communities. These studies often involved small numbers of individuals and are now more than a decade old.

A more recent study which appeared in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation in March 2010, explored the outcomes achieved by 104,213 individuals with intellectual disabilities who were served by state vocational rehabilitation agencies and wished to be enrolled in supported employment. Result found that 62.08% of participants became employed within their community via supported employment and that these individuals, on average, received greater monetary benefits from working than monetary costs. In Washington State the mean benefit-cost ratio was 13.54, the highest of all the states.

posted by AtWork! at


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