Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Shawn P. Saladin

Second Advisor

Dr. Bruce J. Reed

Third Advisor

Dr. Jerome M. Fischer


State-federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs are widely recognized for providing various services to individuals with disabilities to help them reach their goals of independence and employment. Because rehabilitation programs are required to meet federal and state goals, standards, and indicators, thorough and ongoing program evaluation is necessary to identify predictors of successful and unsuccessful employment outcomes in order to determine best practices in vocational rehabilitation service delivery.

In the large southwestern state examined in this research study, there is an estimated return on investment of $9 for each dollar spent on successful VR cases. Cases closed successfully by state-federal VR programs yield independent and productive members of society that have been rehabilitated and integrated into the world of work. In many instances, the rehabilitated working taxpayer no longer requires government or public-funded benefits, such as social security benefits, temporary assistance for needy families, or housing assistance.

The purpose of this research is to provide the rehabilitation counseling profession with insight regarding whether specific variables (including demographics, purchased services, extraneous income and health benefits, collective effects, and benefits counseling for individuals receiving SSI/SSDI) impact vocational outcomes. Service provision data from state fiscal year 2014 from a large southwestern state (N = 18,523 cases) was analyzed. The primary focus of this research was to identify predictor variables of vocational rehabilitation employment outcomes that are within the control of the state-federal VR agency through purchasing capabilities.

Identifying predictor variables is the first step towards ultimately improving return on investment for the state-federal VR agency and improving informed consumer choice. Because purchased services are within the VR agency’s control, practical approaches from research findings can be readily adopted to allow for improved informed consumer choice during the service identification and appropriation process.

This research involved an ex-post-facto, non-experimental, correlational, quantitative research design. Five research questions and related hypotheses were formulated for investigation and were tested using binary logistic regression. All research hypotheses were supported. Results yield noteworthy implications for clients, VR counselors, practitioners, researchers, educators, stakeholders, advocacy groups, and policy makers.


Copyright 2015 Valerie Jeannette Rodriguez. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American