Evaluating the Accessibility of American Job Centers for People with Disabilities

United States
8/2012 – 8/2014 & 8/2014 – 7/2017
Workforce Development
Applied Research Studies
U.S. Department of Labor - Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
Analysis and Validation
Data Collection, Analysis & Reporting
Performance Metrics Development
Quantitative Data Analysis
Survey Analysis
Survey Design and Sampling
Web Based Data Collection

All individuals, including people with disabilities, should have access to the full range of services offered by the public workforce system. For this project, IMPAQ assessed the accessibility of American Job Centers (AJCs) for people with disabilities and identified areas for improvement. Rather than focusing on legal compliance, our evaluation focused on participants’ experience of and ability to use, all aspects of service delivery. We measured accessibility overall and measured physical, programmatic, and communications accessibility. We also investigated how workforce employment networks (EN) accepting Ticket-to-Work (TTW) holders operate and how they compare with other types of ENs.

We used a mixed-methods approach for both tasks. To develop a measure of accessibility, we collected data through a web-based survey of AJCs nationwide. In addition, we conducted site visits to 100 AJCs and conducted nine focus groups with AJC customers with disabilities. We used Item Response Theory to analyze the data and employed a standard setting panel to assign cut points for different levels of accessibility. 

To explore the provision of services to TTW holders, we conducted site visits, gathering information from staff and participants in workforce ENs and others. We also collected and analyzed a range of quantitative data, including data from the Social Security Administration and the Disability Employment Initiative.

The core project team included senior level experts with technical expertise in measure development and data analysis and content expertise in disability and accessibility research. We partnered with the Burton Blatt Institute for Disability Studies at Syracuse University and Universal Designer and Consultants to develop a rigorous measure of accessibility. In addition, we mobilized a broad array of qualitative site visit researchers to conduct 100 rigorous site visits within a short period of time.