Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Kobrak

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Leahy

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas Van Valey


Persons with disabilities represent the largest group of unemployed workers in the United States. The purpose of this research is to compare employer perceptions and competitive employment outcomes of the Rehabilitation Services Administration's employment programs known as Projects With Industry and the state/federal basic Vocational Rehabilitation program. These programs represent the two major vocational rehabilitation delivery systems in the United States. Competitive employment outcomes were compared on the national level using data supplied by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Employer perceptions were compared using data obtained from surveys of 446 Michigan employers. The employers' marketing expectations and perceptions of performance were compared for the state's Vocational Rehabilitation program and six Projects With Industry organizations.

Multiple regression was used to test three multivariate hypotheses relating program expectations and performance ratings to employer satisfaction. The reasons for an employer's involvement with a Projects With Industry program were also ranked in order of importance.

The research showed that persons with disabilities who are served by a Projects With Industry program as well as by the state/federal basic Vocational Rehabilitation program have a much greater chance of obtaining competitive employment at a higher entry wage level than those served only by the state/federal basic Vocational Rehabilitation program. Although client and employer characteristics were found to be similar in the two programs, employers have different levels of expectations and performance perceptions when viewing these different rehabilitation programs. As a result of these differences, employers are more likely to be satisfied by different marketing treatments. The Vocational Rehabilitation program is generally more strategically effective in Supply and Handicapper Specific marketing factors. The Projects With Industry program displays greater strategic effectiveness in dealing with such marketing factors as customer service, screening, and training. Thus, the Projects With Industry and the state/federal basic Vocational Rehabilitation program were found to be complementary rather than competitive programs.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access