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 Funded by the United States Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

Job Retention and Advancement: A Mixed Methods Investigation

Principal Investigator: Adele Crudden, crudden@colled.msstate.edu

Following the focus of recent legislation, including amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, there is renewed interest in generating knowledge about job retention and advancement for individuals with blindness and visual impairments (B/VI). Unfortunately, research regarding job retention and advancement is limited, supporting the need for further exploration and investigation.

This project seeks to learn what policies or procedures state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies have in place concerning job retention and advancement for consumers who are B/VI. Of equal importance, this research seeks to identify how employment outcomes are impacted by those polices, or lack thereof, at the individual and state VR program levels. The importance of technology to job retention will be investigated. A key factor is the inclusion of consumer perspectives regarding how state VR agencies have impacted their ability to retain or advance in employment.

Research data will be obtained via a national survey of state agencies and a consumer survey. Development of both surveys will be guided by information collected from agency personnel and consumers in extended telephone interviews. Survey data will be used in conjunction with consumer outcome data submitted by state agencies to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA-911 data). We will implement a survey with individuals to identify factors that helped them retain their jobs and a survey with VR agencies to explore policies for job retention cases. Analyses with RSA-911 and survey data will explore job retention cases nationally and evaluate the impact of agency policies on consumer employment outcomes. Case studies will provide more in-depth information about job retention for people who are B/VI.