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Research Study Three (RS3)

Customized Employment as an Evidence-based Practice to Improve the Employment Outcomes of Transition-age Youth with Physical Disabilities

Study Team Leader(s):

Dr. Katherine Inge


The purposes of this intervention development study are to 1) identify the critical components of the CE model, 2) develop a fidelity scale for CE, and 3) pilot the scale with a sample of transition-age youth and young adults with physical disabilities.

Research Question(s):

  1. What are the key components of the customized employment (CE)?
  2. Can CE components be measured objectively and consistently using a fidelity scale?
  3. What is the fidelity of the customized employment (CE) intervention used with transition-age youth with physical disabilities?
  4. What are the employment outcomes of transition-age youth who receive customized employment services (non-stereotypical job types, hours worked, benefits, and wages)?
  5. What role does assistive technology play during job negotiation and customization?
  6. What are the demographics (sex, age, academic performance, type of disability) of transition-age youth with physical disabilities who become employed in customized jobs compared to those who do not become employed?

Study Summary:

This study will be conducted in two phases. Phase One will define the components of CE and develop the Customized Employment Fidelity Scale (CEFS). Focus groups will be conducted with 1) national experts on CE, 2) rehabilitation professionals who have customized jobs for individuals with disabilities, 3) employers who have hired individuals in customized jobs, and 4) individuals with disabilities who are employed in customized jobs of their choice. Using this data, an intervention protocol will be developed and the CEFS will be tested during this study. Phase Two will begin in year two and involve recruiting 80 youth with physical disabilities for participation in a pilot study with the goal of assisting at least 40 in obtaining and maintaining customized jobs of their choice. In the final year of the study, a manual will be developed for national dissemination including guidelines for the CEFS to rehabilitation professionals interested in using the Customized Employment Fidelity Scale to improve service delivery and outcomes.

Expected Outcomes and Benefits:

The overall goal of this research study is to determine if customized employment is an effective intervention to assist transition-age youth with physical disabilities in becoming employed. The research will result in a replication manual that can be used by community rehabilitation programs and other professionals to deliver customized employment services. This will include the development and validation of a Customized Employment Fidelity Scale that can be used to implement customized employment with this target audience.

For additional information contact:

Dr. Katherine Inge