Disability employment for adults is key to creating a valuable and inclusive workforce. Equally important is supporting high school students with disabilities who will enter the workforce or postsecondary education.
The Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is supported by a five year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration to implement this Transition Work-Based Learning (TWBL) model. The project is examining the alignment of two interventions that serve students with disabilities: Jobs for Maine Graduates, which supports middle and high school students as they prepare for college and careers, and Progressive Employment, which expands vocational rehabilitation relationships with employers through community-based strategies. These interventions will serve 200 students with disabilities per year who are within two years of graduation from high school to test whether a model of work-based learning improves competitive integrated employment and postsecondary education outcomes. In the impact evaluation, the team employs quasi-experimental designs to assess the impact of Jobs for Maine Graduates and Progressive Employment.
As the independent evaluator, AIR will evaluate the alignment of the two interventions through the use of implementation and impact evaluations. In the implementation evaluation, AIR’s team conducts regular qualitative and quantitative data collections to monitor implementation process and progress.
The Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation expects that the TWBL model will enhance statewide collaboration that facilitates the transition process from secondary and postsecondary schools, or other prevocational training settings, to competitive integrated employment at or above minimum wage. Within one year of graduating, at least 90 percent of study participants will enter postsecondary education or competitive integrated employment.