Evaluation of the Pathways to Careers Program
The SourceAmerica Pathways to Careers (Pathways) program helps individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or a diagnosis of autism obtain competitive integrated employment aligned with their skills, interests, strengths, and abilities. SourceAmerica, in consultation with Marc Gold & Associates (MGA,) developed the customized employment service model. Mathematica is conducting an independent evaluation of Pathways under contract to SourceAmerica, one of two nonprofit organizations that administer the AbilityOne Program. AbilityOne creates employment opportunities on federal government contracts for people with disabilities through a network of nonprofit agency partners. MGA trained Pathways staff on the key, customized employment service components and provided technical assistance after the program launched.
Pathways comprises five service components.
- Discovery is a strengths-based assessment of a participant that focuses on identifying the interests, skills, and conditions for success for each Pathways participant.
- Paid internships and Expanded Discovery include the participant’s experience through one or more 8-12 week paid internships. The participant develops a greater experience base from which to make decisions about employment, as well as a better understanding of their career interests, conditions for success and job-related contributions. Internships allow Pathways participants to try out different job responsibilities and determine whether the job is a suitable match.
- Employment supports (and mental/behavioral health services, if needed) are integrated into the process for Pathways participants. These services are designed to provide long-term support in all phases of employment based on the individual needs and preferences of participants.
- Employment and the employer payroll tax adjustment (EPTA) is simulating an EPTA as part of the Pathways initiative. If a Pathways participant becomes employed after a Pathways internship and earns at least $750 per month, the employer is eligible to receive EPTA payments ranging from $167 to $583 per month per participant, depending on the participant’s earnings and health plan enrollment.
- Post-employment career support is offered by Pathways staff members after a participant accepts a job offer. The staff members, having established relationships with the employers, work with each individual and the employer to support ongoing success and growth. Staff facilitate mentoring, professional development activities and career advancement training. They also help address any participant or employer concerns about the participant’s success in the job.
Pathways is up and running in four sites—Clearfield, Utah, established in 2012, with the addition of three other sites in 2015.