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Vocational Rehabilitation Closure Trends for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities: A Snapshot of Five U.S. Territories

Data Note No. 48, 2014


Originally published: 2/2014

Data Source: 2003-2012 Rehabilitation Services Administration 911 (RSA-911)

Beginning in FY2013, the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities requested that each Project of National Significance include the five primary territories of the United States in data collection and analysis efforts. The five territories included in this analysis are American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands of the United States.

This data note is the first in a series on the territories produced by the Access to Integrated Employment project that will be focused on the secondary data analysis of federal data sets. Data for this data note comes from the RSA-911, a public access database that captures individual characteristics, services provided, and employment outcomes1 at the point of closure from vocational rehabilitation (VR) services.

Table 1 provides a summary of closures for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) in each of the five territories across the past 10 years. The data demonstrate that in many territories, fewer than five individuals with ID per year typically experience a closure into an employment setting.

Table 1. Closures for Individuals with ID in Each Territory
Territory Total closures Total closures with ID Total closures with ID into an employment setting
Year 2003 2007 2012 2003 2007 2012 2003 2007 2012
American Samoa 75 70 48 <5 <5 <5 <5 0 <5
Guam 100 73 40 14 9 6 <5 <5 <5
Northern Mariana 101 170 79 0 <5 <5 0 0 <5
Puerto Rico 6,277 7,382 7,050 631 531 476 269 211 198
US Virgin Islands 96 71 120 35 23 11 13 14 <5

There are likely several reasons for the small number. For example, Puerto Rico probably has a larger number of closures than the other four territories because its total population is much greater. Other reasons for the variation across territories may include the number of individuals in any given year who request employment services from their territorial VR agency, and the availability of expertise in employment supports for people with ID in each territory. While grouped together by their status as territories, each of the five areas represents a unique government and population. Some key ways that the territories vary are their access to federal government programs and resources, size of their populations, demographics, geographic locations and characteristics, and cultures. Therefore, we will not be benchmarking their outcomes against one another, nor against the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Future data notes will focus on individual territories and on understanding their data trends.

1For the purpose of this data note, a person was considered to have an intellectual disability (ID) if code 25 (mental retardation in the RSA-911 dataset) was reported as the cause of either a primary or secondary impairment to employment. A closure is defined as the conclusion of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. A closure into an employment setting means that at the conclusion of VR services, the individual had an employment outcome (integrated employment (including supported employment), self-employment, state-agency-managed business enterprise, homemaker, and unpaid family worker).

Suggested Citation

Winsor, J. E., & Domin, D. (2014). Vocational rehabilitation closure trends for individuals with intellectual disabilities: A snapshot of five U.S. territories. DataNote series, No. 48. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion

This is a publication of StateData.info, funded in part by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (#90DN0216).

StateData.info is a project of the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston.

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