Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Effect of Postsecondary Education on Employment and Income for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
by Sannicandro, Tom, Ph.D., Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, 2016, 109; 10125477
Abstract (Summary)

The low employment rates of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) are a major concern. In 2011 only 34% of adults with ID were employed compared to 76% of adults without disabilities (Siperstein, Parker, & Drascher, 2013). Higher educational attainment is associated with higher employment rates for students with ID (Smith, Grigal, & Sulewski, 2013). postsecondary education has been shown to increase employment (Carnevale, Rose, & Cheah, 2013). Increasingly postsecondary education is becoming an option for individuals with ID.

This study examines the effect of postsecondary education on employment and earnings for individuals with ID and the effect of state variation on those outcomes. Research hypotheses were developed from Human Capital and Social Capital Theories.

This dissertation employed secondary data analysis of the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s RSA 911 from 2008 through 2013 to examine the effect of postsecondary education on employment for individuals served by state Vocational Rehabilitation Service Agencies. The RSA 911 includes variables on attendance of postsecondary education, employment outcomes, earnings, as well as individual and demographic information. Additional economic and state level demographic and policy variables were added to the dataset. Multi-level modeling techniques were used to understand state variation, such as various economic and programmatic features that influence outcomes. Those outcomes for those individuals with ID who had postsecondary education were compared to those who did not.

This study found postsecondary education improves odds of employment, increases weekly earnings, and decreases reliance on SSI benefits for individuals with ID. In addition, postsecondary education increases their odds of obtaining employment in positions not typically held by individuals with ID. Gender, race, cost of services, and the receipt of Medicaid moderate these results, but when all these factors are included the results are that postsecondary education increases the odds of employment more than twice that of an individual with ID without postsecondary education.

This research provides greater understanding of the effects of postsecondary education for individuals with ID and its effect on employment and earnings. This research informs policy makers by examining ways to increase employment and earnings for individuals with ID through postsecondary education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Parish, Susan L.
Commitee: Fournier, Stephen, Mitra, Monika, Paiewonsky, Maria
School: Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
Department: The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Special education, Public policy, Higher education
Keywords: Education, Employment, Intellectual disability, Postsecondary
Publication Number: 10125477
ISBN: 9781339835501
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