This paper estimates earnings impacts of services provided by a state agency of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. To appreciate the significance of this effort requires some historical perspective on evaluation of the VR program as well as familiarity with more recent developments within the manpower training literature in general.
Today VR is a $1 billion dollar program, and it certainly appears that this level of public funding is well founded on a long history of demonstrated cost-effectiveness. In fact, however, considerable skepticism exists with regard to the data and methods that have generated impressive benefit-cost ratios in the past. In the most recent survey, Berkowitz et al. provide a comprehensive discussion of the problems facing program evaluation. A major conclusion of this report is that the data currently collected on VR activities is simply inadequate to support meaningful inferences about program performance. Generally, the report concludes that evaluators lack a comprehensive accounting of program inputs as well as sufficient breadth in measuring clients outcomes.
Dean, David H. and Robert C. Dolan. "Estimating Earnings Impacts of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program." E.C.R.S.B. 86-10. Robins School of Business White Paper Series. University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia.