Improving employment for people with disabilities

The Challenge 

Too many people with disabilities cannot get a job. The unemployment rate among people with disabilities is more than twice the unemployment rate of people without disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) works with employers, advocacy groups, and other government entities to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. ODEP also promotes research and development in this area through 5 Technical Assistance (TA) Centers, which focus on unique topics, such as workforce accommodations, accessible technology in the workplace, and employment for youth with disabilities.

DOL’s Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) chose Westat to assess customer satisfaction with services provided by the TA Centers, and determine the extent to which customers perceive that this TA has led to adoption and implementation of ODEP-recommended policies.

Our Solutions 

  • We are conducting this study in two phases. In the first phase, we gathered baseline information about the TA Centers to discern the different customer types served and the services provided. We then used this information to design the second phase in which we aim to gather data annually for 3 years to assess customer satisfaction and understand how ODEP policies and practices are received and used by TA Center customers.
  • As part of the data collection, we will
    • Visit the ODEP TA Centers, review their work plans, and interview staff about their services, customers, and ways they encourage customers to adopt ODEP policies and practices
    • Collect administrative data from the Centers, such as number of website hits and the number of requests for assistance
    • Work with Center staff to build a database of its customers to use as a sampling frame
    • Administer a brief web census survey of the Centers’ customers within 48 hours after an interaction with the TA Center about their perceptions of the quality of that interaction with the Center
    • Administer an in-depth web survey for a subsample of the Center customers about their perceptions of the overall quality of services the Centers provide and their perception of the extent to which the TA has led to adoption and implementation of ODEP policies and practices
    • Conduct in-depth telephone interviews with a small subsample of Centers’ customers
  • At the end of the study we will deliver a final report of our findings to CEO.

The Results 

  • CEO will use the results of this study to determine customer-perceived satisfaction with ODEP’s TA Centers.
  • The results will also illuminate the ways in which the TA Centers encourage customers to adopt and implement ODEP’s policies and practices.
  • More broadly, study findings will help ODEP increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Our Client 

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)