This study investigates the descriptive outcomes of students with disabilities (SWD) from the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) schools from 2012-2019.
Combining data from USBE, the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), and the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS), the study inquires about demographic characteristics, career and technical education (CTE) enrollment, postsecondary outcomes, and annual income for SWDs.
The literature indicates that SWDs fall behind their peers without disabilities in school. While progress has been made since the 1980s, the data still indicate that SWDs enroll and graduate from postsecondary institutions at lower rates than their peers without disabilities. Furthermore, individuals with disabilities have lower wages than their peers without disabilities.
In this study, 22,203 individuals participated in special education classrooms from 2012-2019. Of those students, 63.1% were men, while 36.5% were women. Students could have earned a postsecondary award (degree or technical certificate) any time after high school through calendar year 2019.
Summary of Findings
Finding 1: The postsecondary credential most commonly earned by students with disabilities was a certificate taking less than one year to complete.
Finding 2: By the fifth year after college, four of the five most popular postsecondary programs’ graduates earned similar wages.
Finding 3: Generally, students with disabilities who participated more often in a regular classroom setting had higher postsecondary enrollment rates.
Finding 4: Students with disabilities who participated in regular classroom settings the least had lower wages than those who participated more.
Finding 5: Students with disabilities who completed a CTE pathway enrolled and graduated from postsecondary schools at higher rates than other levels of CTE participation.
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