The purpose of this investigation was to examine the labor force participation and wages of individuals with disabilities who have transitioned from facility-based (i.e., sheltered) work to employment in integrated and competitive settings. The investigators had access to data from seven states on the labor force participation and wages of more than 3000 individuals with disabilities who have moved from institutional to community placements over the past two decades.
Among the findings: the majority of individuals in these geographically diverse samples were unemployed over time; sheltered employment prepared some individuals for entry into employment in integrated settings and resulted in substantial gains in earned income and reported higher levels of daily living skills. However, the daily life functioning of many individuals who remained in sheltered employment was comparable to that of those who transitioned to integrated employment. Avenues for future research, and legal and policy analysis are discussed.