Research on Employment Supports for People with Disabilities: Summary of the Focus Group Findings. A. Purpose and Organization of the Report

This report summarizes the findings from information collected during three sets of focus groups conducted for a study on employment supports for people with disabilities sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The study is intended to increase the understanding of the role of various supports in helping people with disabilities find and maintain employment. The findings in this report are from focus groups conducted with nearly 300 participants with significant disabilities, all of whom had obtained some measure of employment success, in Los Angeles, California; Newark, New Jersey; and Seattle/Tacoma, Washington, between April and December 2000.

This report is organized as follows:

In the remainder of Section I, we provide background information and a description of the study, and briefly summarize the evolution of recent disability policy to provide a context for the focus group findings. In Section II, we present the findings from the focus groups, organized by type of support (i.e., access to health insurance, employers' accommodations, etc.).

Two Appendices to this report provide further information about the study: Appendix A contains a description of the focus group methodology, a description of the characteristics of the focus group participants at each site, and the study instruments; Appendix B contains detailed profiles of the programs and supports available to people with disabilities in each of the three focus group localities.

In addition to this report, several others have been developed using the findings from this study. These include a comprehensive review of the literature and studies conducted since 1990 on issues related to the employment of people with disabilities, and five policy briefs covering the following topics: