Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Daniel Cook

Committee Member

Rick Roessler

Second Committee Member

Barbara Shadden

Third Committee Member

Ronna Turner


Blind consumers, competitive employment, vocational rehabilitation


State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies were rank ordered by their rate of competitive employment for consumers who are legally blind. Based on each state's competitive closure rate (CCR), the top six- and bottom six-ranked agencies were identified and formed two groups of high- and low-performing states. Top- versus bottom-ranked agencies were compared by quality of jobs obtained, services offered, consumer characteristics, and geographic/economic differences. The quality of jobs obtained was assessed via three indices: average wage, medical insurance, and selfsupport. Six services were hypothesized to explain differences between high- and lowranked states: cost of case services, adjustment training, college education, business/vocational training, job placement services, and assistive technology. Three consumer characteristics, consumer’s age, education at application, and gender, were compared. Finally, three geographic/economic variables, population density, average poverty rate, and unemployment rate of each state, also were compared. Analysis of variance and effect size statistics were used to assess differences between top- and bottom-ranked agencies. Five salient findings were (a) significant variability exists across VR agencies in CCR for legally blind consumers; (b) VR services did not explain the differences in CCR; (c) high- versus low-ranked agencies neither differed in the characteristics of consumers served nor in the geographic/economic factors within the state; (d) agencies ranked high on CCR had a significantly higher proportion of consumers who were already employed at application, and (e) higher ranked agencies nevertheless had a significantly higher employment closure rate for consumers who were hired during the VR process. Conclusions, implications and suggestions for future research were discussed, also.