The Youth Transition Demonstration: Lifting Employment Barriers for Youth with Disabilities

About the study

This study analyzed the interim findings of the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) project evaluation, and the impact the project evaluation had on paid employment and earnings of youth with disabilities by using the random assignment and survey data for implementation and impact analyses. The study identifies key components of YTD project and further provides insight into YTD project for young people with disabilities.


What can be learned from this study?

• Launched in 2003 by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) project provided services to youth with disabilities between the ages 14 to 25 in the United States, and helped them become economically self-sufficient. While the project evaluation is ongoing, YTD project ceased its operations starting from February 2013.

• YTD project components included work-based experiences, youth empowerment, family involvement, system linkages, and Social Security Administration waivers and benefits counseling. The core project components helped young people with disabilities gain work experience through volunteer work, subsidized jobs, and paid jobs, and acquire much needed skills and knowledge they would need to become more independent. The program also emphasized having families involved in job planning for youth with disabilities, and establishing relationship with other service providers.

• The study found that the technical assistance provided to YTD services need to focus on paid job, service delivery, and service delivery outcomes. This adjustments in evaluation yielded positive results, further increasing the hours of services offered to YTD participants.

• The more hours of services YTD participants received (average of 30 hours per participant), more young people with disabilities were able to find paid employment, while fewer hours of service had no impact on paid employment and earnings. The one-year impact analysis of YTD projects found that there was a positive impact on paid employment and total earnings in places where more employment services were offered.


What method(s) did the study use?

Young people with disabilities between the ages 14 to 25 were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. Youth with disabilities in the treatment group were able to receive YTD services, whereas those in the control group only had access to non-YTD services. As part of the evaluation, survey data on service receipt, employment, and earnings were also collected from youth with disabilities who were receiving Supplemental Security Income or Disability Insurance to conduct implementation and impact analyses of YTD project.