Predictors of employment outcomes for state-federal vocational rehabilitation consumers with HIV/AIDS

Authors: Kang, S., Magura, S., Blankertz, L., Madison, E., & Spinelli, M.
Year Published 2010
Publication Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin
Volume 53
Number 3
Pages 175-185
Publisher Sage

As the widespread use of potent combination antiretroviral therapy has improved their health and longevity, people with HIV/AIDS have increasingly focused on entering or reentering the workforce. Despite their growing interest in and need for employment, however, many persons living with HIV/AIDS have faced barriers to employment, remained unemployed, in need for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. Little research is available regarding individuals with HIV/AIDS service by the VR system.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of demographic, medical, and service variables on employment outcomes for persons with HIV/AIDS who received State-Federal VR services.


This study included individuals with HIV/AIDS served by multiple vocational rehabilitation agencies in various settings.


The study sample consisted of 1,178 individuals with a primary diagnosis of HIV/AIDS who were clients of the State-Federal VR services in 2006, and who were closed either successfully or unsuccessfully.

Data Collection

The RSA-911 database includes client demographic and historical information, case service information, case expenditures, and service outcomes. Data are submitted to the RSA-911 database at case closure. A logistic regression model was employed to estimate the contribution of each predictor variable while simultaneously taking other predictor variables into account and was tested across the two random groups of participants to assess the generalizability of the model.


This study did not include a control or comparison group. Comparisons were made between those who were successfully rehabilitated and those who were unsuccessful.


Four service-related variables were found to be predictive of successful rehabilitation: Job placement assistance, on-the-job supports, months in VR program (12–23 months, 24–35 months, and 36–162 months), and service expenditures ($2,001–$4,500 and $4,501–$65,000). Of the four predictive variables, on-the-job supports was one of the most important variables that contributed to the prediction of a successful employment outcome. Provision of job placement assistance and on-the-job supports increased the probability of achieving employment by 2 to 4 times.


This study underscores the importance of job placement assistance and on-the-job supports (e.g., job coaching, follow-along, job retention services) in employment success of VR clients with HIV/AIDS. The authors note that these individuals may have been unemployed for a long period since they left their job after an HIV/AIDS diagnosis. Thus, they might be unsure of their readiness for a job, what types of jobs match with their skills and preferences, and how to find job information and job leads. Rehabilitation counselors can assist individuals with HIV/AIDS who need to discuss work-related issues and make more informed decisions about accommodation needs and requests that can enhance job retention.

Populations Male & Female | Hispanic or Latino | Black / African American | White / Caucasian
Outcomes Employment acquisition
NIDILRR Funded Yes
Research Design Observational
Peer Reviewed Yes