Mathematica is proud to support National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This campaign shines a light on disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ensuring full access and inclusion for people with disabilities means starting early, as youth and their families begin to consider continued education and career options. A number of policies and programs around the country seek to assist youth during this critical transition period. Mathematica has strengthened efforts to support successful transitions to adulthood through its work evaluating and identifying effective strategies.
“Mathematica is committed to advancing policies to improve the employment opportunities, inclusion, and economic stability of people with disabilities,” said Gina Livermore, senior fellow and disability policy expert. “We are honored to work with our partners to identify policies and programs that can make a positive difference in the lives of youth and young adults with disabilities as they take their first steps into the workforce.”
Our long history of studying youth transition interventions began with the evaluation of the Transitional Employment and Training Demonstration, the first major demonstration to improve adult outcomes for youth with intellectual disability receiving disability benefits. Mathematica also evaluated the Youth Transition Demonstration, one of the largest initiatives by the Social Security Administration to help youth recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) become more self-sufficient. Our most recent work in this area reveals advancements in the field and contributes to the continued pursuit of innovations and improvements based on evidence. Below are a few of our latest projects and publications related to helping youth with disabilities secure meaningful work and economic independence as they become adults.
SSI Youth Solutions
The SSI Youth Solutions project, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, developed 12 new policy solutions that can help youth with disabilities—particularly youth receiving SSI—transition to adulthood successfully.
- Twelve Ideas to Promote Employment for Youth with Disabilities: An Introduction to the SSI Youth Solutions Project
- Considerations for the Papers Developed for the SSI Youth Solutions Project
Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) is a joint initiative that consists of demonstrations in six states to provide innovative educational, vocational, and other services to youth SSI recipients ages 14 to 16 and their families and to improve service coordination among state and local agencies. Mathematica is evaluating PROMISE and, with support from Autism Speaks, is examining the impact on youth with autism. Current findings show that offering effective, scalable transition services to youth with autism and other disabilities can help them transition to adulthood and succeed in the long term.
- Insights About the Transition System for SSI Youth from the National Evaluation of Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE)
- Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE): Family Service Use and Its Relationship with Youth Outcomes
- Youth with Autism Benefit from Services That Improve Transitions to Adulthood
Transition work-based learning model demonstrations
The Rehabilitation Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Education awarded grants to five states to design and pilot programs that use evidence-based practices to provide work-based learning experiences in integrated settings. Mathematica evaluated the impact of the Vermont Linking Learning to Careers and the Way2Work Maryland projects. Findings revealed that these programs had varying impacts on outcomes related to service use, education, employment, and expectations for the future.
- Linking Learning to Careers Demonstration: Impacts 24 Months After Enrollment
- Way2Work Maryland Demonstration: Impacts 24 Months After Enrollment
Retirement and Disability Research Consortium
Mathematica and Boston College are partners in the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium, which studies a range of topics related to Social Security’s Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance and SSI programs and related federal policies. One recent research project focused on the employment of youth and young adults with disabilities in a changing labor market.
Mathematica is working with the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families to identify and test innovative, promising employment interventions designed to help individuals facing complex challenges secure a pathway toward economic independence as part of the Next Generation of Enhanced Employment Strategies Project (NextGen Project). The project is working closely with the Social Security Administration to incorporate a focus on employment-related early interventions for people with current or foreseeable disabilities who are potential applicants for Supplemental Security Income.
As part of the NextGen Project, Mathematica will be evaluating the outcomes for participants in the Bridges from School to Work program. The decades-old program offers intensive and customized employment-related support to students in special education as they transition out of high school in about a dozen urban areas across the United States.
Research Support Services for Employment of Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum
The more than one million young adults on the autism spectrum in the United States offer myriad strengths to potential employers, yet they face unique challenges as they enter the labor force. As part of a new project, Mathematica has partnered with the Office of Disability Employment Policy in the U.S. Department of Labor to advance the knowledge base on policies and practices to support increased employment among young adults on the autism spectrum.
Mathematica looks forward to advancing the goals of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. We are committed to improving the lives of people with disabilities through our research and through internal policies and practices that support our journey toward becoming a more inclusive workplace that welcomes people of all abilities and backgrounds.