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Abstract: The VR-ROI Project

New Return on Investment Models (ROI) for the Public Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program: Develop an Enhanced and Simplified ROI Model

We propose to develop VR-ROI models that help VR agencies provide efficient and effective services to persons with disabilities. VR agencies are called to invest time and energy to understand the factors that predict sustained employment outcomes. Our proposed models will provide guidance about the mix of services that provide superior outcomes and enable VR agencies to examine data across subgroups (i.e., race, geography). This development project uses readily available administrative data from the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind and Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Goal 1: Update Data. Our refined VR-ROI model will be developed using agency data for individuals who applied for VR services between 2017 to 2021; i.e., after revised WIOA common performance measures were integrated into program data collection. Updated data allow investigation of correlations between common performance data elements and long-term employment outcomes, as well as COVID-impacted service provision and outcomes.

Goal 2: Measures of Service Intensity. Our post-WIOA model will include measures to account for VR-delivered service intensity, such as expenditures, service units, and variation between vendor and in-house provided services.

Goal 3: Simplified VR-ROI Model. We will explore the econometric characteristics of a simplified and more accessible version of the VR-ROI model that can be used by VR agencies across the country. This will put VR agencies in a better position to make timely decisions for enhancing services for their consumers with disabilities.

Goal 4: Knowledge Translation. We will use community-based participatory research methods with stakeholder groups to solicit input on model development and relevant products for understanding and utilizing VR-ROI models to improve VR services.