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More recent studies found that individuals with more severe disabilities who do receive supported employment services do not have as positive an outcome as individuals with less severe disabilities.

They earn significantly less money, work fewer hours per week, and have fewer interactions at work than individuals with less significant disabilities receiving the same services. They are perceived as having lower work quality and fewer positive relationships with coworkers.

The greater number of hours of direct support received by these individuals also leads to less integration in the workplace and a less typical employment situation than their counterparts with less severe disabilities. Indeed, there seems to be a strong correlation between wages, level of integration, and typicality in job settings (Mank, Cioffi, and Yovanoff, 1998).

The promise of supported employment was great for people with severe disabilities. The delivery on that promise has been disappointing.

Individual working in the community
Photo courtesy Ann Marsden
"Although there has been growth in the number of supported employment provider agencies, the majority have added supported employment as a service option without decreasing funding, staff, or other resources to alternative segregated day services. Less than one fourth of provider agencies have shifted any resources and downsized alternative day services in order to offer supported employment. This finding confirms that the majority of provider agencies are filling available supported employment slots while maintaining segregated day services as the primary focus."

(West et al., 1992)
Individual working in the community
Photo courtesy Ann Marsden