Differences in the vocational rehabilitation process between African Americans and European Americans with specific learning disabilities on acceptance, services, and reasons for closure
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between consumer race and vocational rehabilitation acceptance, services, and reason for closure through the state/federal vocational rehabilitation system for in individuals with specific learning disabilities. The consumers who participated in the study were individuals who applied for services during the 2006 fiscal year with specific learning disabilities (SLD). The study included two different stratified samples of 400 African Americans with SLD and 400 European Americans with SLD. Several variables were held constant in this study. These variables included: (a) gender, (b) age at application, (c) level of education at application, (d) primary source of support at application, participation in special education (as evidenced by an individualized education program), and (e) presence of a significant disability. Related to acceptance, results from the logistic regression indicated that the presence of a significant disability was positively correlated with acceptance for services in both samples. That is individuals with a significant disability were more likely to be accepted for services than were individuals without a significant disability. There were no statistically significant differences found between African Americans with SLD and European Americans with SLD in Sample A. Conversely, statistically significant differences were found in Sample B. In Sample B African Americans with SLD were less likely than European Americans with SLD to be accepted for services. In addition, under the category of educational level at application, individuals with a special education certificate of completion/diploma in attendance were less likely to be accepted for services than other educational categories. Related to services, in Sample A, African Americans with SLD were less likely to receive college training than European Americans with SLD. In Sample B, African Americans with SLD were more likely to receive job readiness and transportation services. On-the-job training was provided more frequently for European Americans with SLD than African Americans with SLD. Related to reasons for closure, the chi-square was not significant in Sample A. However in Sample B statistically significant findings were revealed. African Americans with SLD were found more likely to be closed as 'unable to locate or contact' and 'failure to cooperate'. In addition, Sample African Americans with SLD were more likely to be closed 'other reasons'. By contrast, European Americans with SLD were found to be closed due to either refusal of services or further services and to achieve an employment outcome. Limitations of the study and implications for future research and practice were also discussed.