State-Level Variation in Vocational Rehabilitation Service Use and Related Outcomes Among Transition-Age Youth on the Autism Spectrum

  • Anne M. RouxEmail author
  • Jessica E. Rast
  • Paul T. Shattuck
Original Paper


Employment outcomes for transition-age youth with autism spectrum disorder (TAY-ASD) following Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services declined between 2002 and 2011; although a few states showed significant progress. We examined inter-state variation in VR service use and outcomes among TAY-ASD in 2014–2016, finding significant differences in the percentage of TAY-ASD who received VR services, entered VR services during secondary school, had timely development of an employment plan, and were employed at VR exit. Inter-state differences remained significant after adjusting for the influence of individual-level demographics and state-level unemployment and fiscal capacity, suggesting other factors influence variation. Future research should monitor whether changes in the VR program, via the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, move the needle on VR outcomes for TAY-ASD.


Vocational rehabilitation Transition-age youth Autism spectrum disorder Employment State systems 



This project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under UJ2MC31073: Maternal and Child Health-Autism Transitions Research Project. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. This project was also supported by funding from the Organization for Autism Research (OAR), Inc. Applied Research Grant, under the title “Association of state-level factors with vocational outcomes for transition-age youth with autism.”

Author Contributions

AR, JR, and PS contributed to the conceptualization of the study and initial drafting of the manuscript. JE completed the data analysis and table preparation. AR, JR, and PS reviewed the final manuscript, and AR completed revision and publication preparation. All authors approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Ms. Roux, Ms. Rast, and Dr. Shattuck each declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was deemed exempt by the Drexel University Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent

Not applicable. No data was collected, as this study was a secondary analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.A.J. Drexel Autism InstituteDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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