NOVA Enhanced Employment Outcomes Evaluation

Team: Prof. Vivienne Riches and Jemima MacDonald

Disability Employment Service (DES) providers are currently funded by the Federal Department of Human Services with the aims of promoting and assisting people with disability to find work in open employment situations, assisting employers to employ people with disability, and supporting the ongoing employment of people with disability.

The DES performance framework was designed to facilitate a comparative performance model, and uses a Star Ratings System that measures the relative performance of DES Providers in delivering services contributing to the objectives of the DES programme, focusing on Key Performance Indicator (KPI) 1: Efficiency and KPI 2: Effectiveness.

Employment outcomes endorsed as important by all participants with disabilities involved both economic and noneconomic outcomes. The current study supports claims that the two KPIs are too narrow as key performance indicators, as they do not discriminate between part-time and full time jobs, nor account for numbers of hours worked per week, which has an impact on sustainable wages. Other outcomes not addressed are underemployment and underutilization of the skills and potential of many employees with disability, and failure to incorporate or reward person centredness and self determination especially for persons with higher support needs. These problems have often resulted in a loss of committed skilled staff and an overemphasis on contractual compliance.

NOVA intentionally encourages staff to secure jobs that provide increased hours of work for jobseekers that can improve financial independence. An analysis of internal NOVA job placement data indicated that the majority of jobseekers (approx. 85%) placed in employment by NOVA in the past few years were indeed working in jobs in excess of 15 hours per week, well above the minimum eight hours required in the DES contract, and not included in the Star Rating System.

Further, our assessment using the Employment Services Fidelity Scale indicated NOVA Employment  is operating a competitive employment program using processes that exemplify high fidelity to evidence based practices across the various stages of program intake, engagement, asset based assessment, job preparation and job matching (skill development) job search and placement, job coaching and follow along support.

See a copy of the final report here: REPORT_EmploymentOutcomes