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Employment Outcomes and Job Quality of Vocational Rehabilitation Consumers With Deaf-Blindness

Research Takeaway: For many people who are deaf-blind, finding a high-quality job is a challenge. We found a number of factors that are linked to better employment outcomes for these individuals.

What Were We Trying to Learn?

To date, no research exists on the employment outcomes of vocational rehabilitation (VR) consumers who are deaf-blind. Our study is the first to look at both the factors that make it more likely that deaf-blind VR consumers will find jobs and the factors that are linked to higher quality jobs for these individuals. To determine job quality, we considered whether the job provided medical insurance and a living wage as well as how the pay compared to median hourly wages in the individual’s state.

What Are The Most Important Things We Learned?

Our study focused on both employment outcomes and job quality among individuals who are deaf-blind. We looked at individual factors (such as age or gender) and VR-related factors (such as the VR services a person received and the type of VR agency in which they were served).

Among the people in our study’s sample, more than half had a job at the time their VR case was closed. About a quarter of these individuals (26.0%) received medical insurance through their jobs. On average, those with jobs earned 96% of the living wage in their state.

Employment outcomes: We found a number of factors that were positively linked to finding employment:

  1. Higher levels of education
  2. Self as the primary source of support at the time the individual applied to VR
  3. Being competitively employed at the time the individual applied to VR (if the person did not have a cognitive disability)
  4. Getting and educational degree or certificate while receiving VR services
  5. Receiving job-placement assistance from VR
  6. Receiving job-search assistance from VR
  7. Receiving on-the-job supports - short term from VR
  8. Receiving on-the-job supports - supported employment from VR
  9. Receiving counseling and guidance from