Article Summary

Pre-Employment Transition Services for Students with Disabilities

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This summary is for general information and reference purposes. The original research brief is owned and copyright protected and published by Mathematica.

A quick look:

For the first time since the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 was signed into law, researchers were able to review quarterly data on how VR agencies provide pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities. Using data from July 2017 to June 2018, researchers provide statistics on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies implementation of pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities, specifically, what share of these individuals receive pre-employment transition services from VR agencies.

Key Findings:

  • Students with disabilities make up approximately 1/5 of the total caseloads for VR agencies.
  • On average, 64% of students with disabilities using VR services receive pre-employment transition services.
  • A majority of students with disabilities receive job exploration counseling (53%), counseling on enrollment opportunities (84%), and instruction in self-advocacy (72%) directly from VR agencies. However, the percentage of students receiving workplace readiness training was lower at 20%, with more than 80% receiving this training from purchased services.
  • Less than half of students with disabilities receive job exploration counseling, workplace readiness training, and instruction in self-advocacy under an individualized plan for employment (IPE).
  • More than 60% of students receive work-based learning experiences with an IPE.

Putting It into Practice:       

  • Some students may need extra support services, such as transportation, to be able to receive pre-employment transition services.
  • Purchased services could alleviate some of the constraints of VR counselor’s capacity to deliver some services when needed.
  • VR agencies may provide these pre-employment transition services in an ordered sequence that ultimately concludes with work-based learning experiences.
  • Some VR agencies that have no students with disabilities receiving pre-employment transition services should examine agencies that do provide these services so they can transition to providing these services.

More about this Research

For this study, researchers used public-use PY 2017 RSA-911 data for each quarter and calculated measures for each agency across the United States. The data contains information on all participants and reportable individuals for the quarter. They calculated the statistics based on quarterly averages and the averages across all four quarters.


Article CitationHoneycutt, T., Sevak, P., & Rizzuto, A. (2019). Provision of Pre-Employment Transition Services: Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Variation in the First Program Year of Reporting. Mathematica.

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Virginia Commonwealth University, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (VCU-RRTC) is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution providing access to education and employment without regard to age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, political affiliation, or disability.  The VCU-RRTC is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant #90RTEM0003).  NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If special accommodations are needed, please contact Vicki Brooke at (804) 828-1851 VOICE or (804) 828-2494 TTY.