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Research Report

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Policy shifts over the past 20 years have created an agenda that calls for a sustained commitment to integrated employment for individuals with disabilities. But despite these clear intentions, unemployment of individuals with disabilities continues to be a major public policy issue.

For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the disparity in labor market participation grows. Data suggest only 14.7% of individuals who receive supports from state IDD agencies work in either individual or group integrated employment, and 19% of individuals who receive day services from a state IDD agency participate in a service designed to support integrated employment (Butterworth, Hall, Smith, Migliore, Winsor, Domin, & Sulewski, 2013; Human Services Research Institute, 2012). At the same time, participation in sheltered or facility-based employment and non-work services has grown steadily, suggesting that employment services continue to be viewed as an add-on service rather than a systemic change (Butterworth et al., 2013; Mank, Cioffi, & Yovanoff, 2003).

Data on the state of employment for individuals with disabilities (as briefly synthesized above) is available through a myriad of data collection systems. A growing emphasis on government accountability at the state and federal levels has increased interest in the collection and use of data on employment outcomes. However, many disability data systems are only loosely coordinated across various agencies, and many state service systems have fragmented and incomplete data systems in place. Stapleton & Thornton (2009, p.4) note that “(a)lthough the challenges to improving the data are substantial, they pale in comparison to the likely consequences of failing to do so, both for people with disabilities and for taxpayers.”

This toolkit is designed to provide guidance on how to use currently available national and state-level aggregate data sets to weave together a picture of the employment outcomes of transition-age youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Data sets are grouped by the type of data they report: agencylevel data, and general employment trend data.



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