Community integration of developmentally disabled through supported employment: A program evaluation

Ronald H. Buccilli (1989)

Traditionally, facility-based rehabilitation has held the concept that developmentally disabled adults require pre-vocational training in a segregated setting prior to job placement. Programs founded on this concept, provide only time-limited support services for the disabled adults after job placement. Results from these programs indicate that there has been minimal success in job retention for the developmentally disabled. More recently, there has developed a concept of supported employment for the developmentally disabled adult. Programs founded on this concept include vocational training which occurs on the job while on-site support is provided. This support is provided indefinitely after employment. Despite the growing advocacy for supported employment programs and their consequential partnership with business, very few studies have been undertaken which assess the effectiveness of this concept. Specifically, a major issue which has arisen in the field of vocational rehabilitation concerns whether developmentally disabled adults with no previous work history can become effective employees. Utilizing a program evaluation structure and process, this study investigated and measured actual outcome results of a three-month supported employment project. The study involved 16 developmentally disabled adults. Fifteen of the 16 subjects completed a supported employment program and were hired and retained by their respective employers. The findings indicate that the developmentally disabled can be successfully trained in a supported employment program. However, there were some residual negative biases towards this population by employers. This investigation has implications for future program implementation and evaluation of supported employment.