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

Exploration of Secondary Data to Increase our Knowledge about Subpopulations of Individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired and WIOA Impacts

Principal Investigator: Michele McDonnall, m.mcdonnall@msstate.edu

Employment-related research regarding youth and adults who are deaf-blind and persons with combined traumatic brain injury (TBI) and blindness/visual impairment (B/VI) is virtually non-existent. These are very small subpopulations of a small population (i.e., people who are B/VI), and limited research attention has been focused on these groups. As an initial step to understanding employment issues for these groups, we will utilize secondary data sources to investigate correlates and predictors of employment for (a) youth who are deaf-blind, (b) adults who are deaf-blind, and (c) persons with combined TBI and B/VI. We will also utilize secondary data to evaluate the impact of the legislative changes associated with the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, in particular the requirement to spend 15% of VR funds on pre-employment transition services (PETS) for students with disabilities.

We will utilize two data sources for this study: the National Longitudinal Transition Survey 2 (NLTS2), and multiple years of the Rehabilitation Services Administration Case Service Report (RSA-911) data. Additional key data to supplement RSA-911 data will be collected directly from VR agency administrators in a survey (associated with Project 5). Questions regarding how services are provided to individuals with deaf-blindness and combined TBI and B/VI and how the agency is handling the PETS requirements will be included in the survey. This data will be combined with outcome data from RSA-911. If these analyses are able to identify agency practices or strategies that appear to be particularly effective for either of these subpopulations, follow-up interviews with the VR agency will be conducted and a policy brief describing the results will be developed.