Integrated Employment:
The Return on Investment, Cost-Effectiveness, and Fiscal
Impact on Workers with Disabilities
Robert Evert Cimera, Ph.D.
Kent State University
[email protected]
Disclaimer

I am by no means suggesting that money
is the bottom line for any policy decisions.
Disclaimer

I am by no means suggesting that money is the
bottom line for any policy decisions.

However…

“Economics is the language of politicians and
policymakers….”
Question #1: “Should People Go Into
Supported Employment?”
Question #1: “Should People Go Into
Supported Employment?”

Benefits:


Wages Earned in the Community
Costs:



Forgone Wages from a Workshop
Taxes Paid
Lost Governmental Subsidies
Question #1: “Should People Go Into
Supported Employment?”

Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
(n=64,692)

Benefit-Cost Ratio = 4.20
Source: Cimera (2010b)
Question #1: “Should People Go Into
Supported Employment?”

Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
(n=64,692)


Benefit-Cost Ratio = 4.20
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
(n=19,436)

Benefit-Cost Ratio = 5.28
Source: Cimera & Burgess (2011)
Question #1: “Should People Go Into
Supported Employment?”

Supported Employment was cost-efficient
from the worker’s perspective



All disabilities,
Secondary conditions, and
All States.
Source: Cimera (in press)
Question #1: “Should People Go Into
Supported Employment?”

Yes….
Question #2: “Which is More CostEffective: SE or SW?”
Supported v. Sheltered Employment

Cumulative Costs
SE: $18,813
SW: $46,855
Source: Cimera (2011b)
Supported v. Sheltered Employment
Cumulative Costs
SE: $18,813
SW: $46,855
Cost per Hr. Worked
SE: $11.88
SW: $17.12

Source: Cimera (2011b)
Supported v. Sheltered Employment
Cumulative Costs
SE: $18,813
SW: $46,855
Cost per Hr. Worked
SE: $11.88
SW: $17.12


Cost per Dollar Earned
SE: $2.02
SW: $9.39
Source: Cimera (2011b)
Percent of Total Program Costs
Supported Employees
14%
12%
10%
Supported
Employees
8%
6%
4%
2%
0%
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Fiscal Quarters
8
9
10
11
12
Source: Cimera (2008)
Percent of Total Program Costs
14%
12%
10%
Sheltered
Employees
8%
Supported
Employees
6%
4%
2%
0%
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Fiscal Quarters
8
9
10
11
12
Source: Cimera (2008)
Question #2: “Which is More CostEffective: SE or SW?”

It appears, SE is more cost-effective.
Source: Cimera (in press)
Question #3: “Is SE a Good
Investment for Taxpayers?”
Question #3: “Is SE a Good
Investment for Taxpayers?”

Benefits (per month):




Alternative Program Savings………$731.64
Taxes Paid………………………….. $ 70.84
Reduction in Subsidies…………….($ 6.83)
Costs (per month):


$795.65
$544.31
Cost of SE Services……………….. $394.31
Tax Credits to Employers…………. $150.00
231,204 Supported Employees (2002-2007)
Source: Cimera (2010a)
Question #3: “Is SE a Good
Investment for Taxpayers?”
 Benefit-Cost






Ratio = 1.46
Mental Illnesses = 1.68
Physical Disabilities = 1.66
Autism Spectrum Disorder = 1.62
Sensory Impairments = 1.35
Intellectual Disabilities = 1.20
Traumatic Brain Injuries = 1.17
Source: Cimera (2009)
Question #3: “Is SE a Good
Investment for Taxpayers?”

Yes…regardless of disability or number of
disabilities (but not in all States).
Source: Cimera (2009)
Question #4: “How Do We Make SE
More Effective and Efficient?”
The Utilization of “Natural Supports”

SE with “Natural Supports”
Average Cost = $5,063
 Employment Cycle = 6.04 fiscal quarters
 Cost per Quarter = $838


SE Statewide
Average Cost = $8,212
 Employment Cycle = 3.36 fiscal quarters
 Cost per Quarter = $2,444

Source: Cimera (2007)
The Utilization of “Natural Supports”

SE with “Natural Supports”

Reduced costs by 57.6% (from 2001 to 2005)

Nearly an 80% increase in length of
employment.
Source: Cimera (2007)
Community-Based Transition
Services
In-School
Community-Based
Cost of Services = $1,551
Cost of Services = $1,020
Months Employed = 4.70
Months Employed = 8.10
Source: Cimera (2010c)
Sheltered Workshops Prior to SE
No Sheltered Workshop Yes Sheltered Workshop
Wkly Earnings: $137.20
Wkly Earnings: $118.55
Cost (sample): $4,543*
Cost (sample): $7,895
Cost (employed): $5,399*
Cost (employed): $8,659
9,808 Individuals with Intellectual Impairments
Source: Cimera (2011a)
Thank You!
Robert Evert Cimera, Ph.D.
Kent State University, USA
[email protected]
References
Cimera, R.E. (2007). Utilizing natural supports to reduce the costs of supported employment. Research and Practice
for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 32(3), 1-6.
Cimera, R.E. (2008). The cost-trends of supported versus sheltered employment. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation,
28, 15-20.
Cimera, R.E. (2009). Supported employment’s cost-efficiency to taxpayers: 2002 to 2007. Research and Practice for
Persons with Severe Disabilities, 34, 13-20.
Cimera, R.E. (2010a). The national cost-efficiency of supported employees with intellectual disabilities: 2002 to 2007.
American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 115, 19-29.
Cimera, R.E. (2010b). The national cost-efficiency of supported employees with intellectual disabilities: The worker’s
perspective. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 33, 123-131.
Cimera, R.E. (2010c). Can community-based high school transition programs improve the cost-efficiency of supported
employment? Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 33(1) 4-12.
Cimera, R.E. (2011a). Does being in sheltered workshops improve the employment outcomes of supported employees
with intellectual disabilities? Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 35, 21-28.
Cimera, R. E. (2011b). Supported versus sheltered employment: Cumulative costs, hours worked, and wages earned.
Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 35, 85-92.
Cimera, R.E. (in press). The Economics of Supported Employment: What New Data Tell Us. Journal of Vocational
Rehabilitation.
Cimera, R.E. & Burgess, S. (2011). Do adults with autism benefit monetarily from working in their communities?
Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 34, 173-180
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The Economics of Supported Employment: What We