CSDP Forum: Aligning Community Practices with Trends in Rehabilitation: Researching and Validating the Pathways to Careers Initiative
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only about 20 percent of the people who have disabilities are in the workforce. Further, individuals with disabilities face significant barriers to finding competitive, integrated, and full-wage employment. Often, they are relegated to segregated workshops; enclaves; or low-paying, part-time positions in the service industry. It is rare for them to successfully pursue careers in industries that are well matched to their interests and capabilities.
Mathematica Policy Research is evaluating Pathways to Careers, an innovative employment program for people with disabilities that was designed to include four core elements:
- Strengths-based assessment of participants
- An 8–12 week paid internship
- Employment that features an employer payroll tax adjustment
- Ongoing career support
The speakers at this event discussed:
- The alignment of Pathways practices with the provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and other trends in best practices for rehabilitation
- Pathways’ unique strategies to engage employers, including testing and evaluating an employer payroll tax adjustment
- The program’s effective delivery of services through a team organizational structure, assignments and responsibilities, and training on key practices
- The program’s zero-exclusion approach, which ensures that services can be effectively provided to a diverse group of individuals, including those who experience the most significant impact from their disability
- Findings from the evaluation that reveal the experiences of staff, participants, and employers in the program, any changes in the participants’ reliance on federal and state benefits, and other participant outcomes
Speakers at the event included Gina Livermore of Mathematica Policy Research, Brian DeAtley and Therese Fimian of SourceAmerica’s Institute for Economic Empowerment, and Christopher Button of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.