[Excerpt] Since 2001, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has awarded more than $65 million in grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements. Of this, more than $38 million has been awarded to projects under the ODEP Demonstration Program, with about 2 percent directed toward an independent evaluation.
The ODEP Demonstration Program consists of a variety of initiatives targeted at both adults and youth with disabilities. All demonstration projects funded under these initiatives are expected to implement and evaluate methods for building the capacity of the workforce development system to better serve people with disabilities. ODEP contracted with Westat, a private research company, to conduct an independent evaluation of its demonstration program. The purpose of the independent evaluation is to provide ODEP with data and information about system change that can be used to assist policy development, decisions, and recommendations, as well as track progress in meeting ODEP’s goals under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). The independent evaluation has three objectives:
1. To provide ODEP with reliable and valid indicators of program effectiveness;
2. To determine the extent to which each program priority area is effective in building workforce development system capacity; and
3. To document local, regional, and/or state systems change that supports program effectiveness.
This paper summarizes the issues and accomplishments identified by the evaluation to date in the context of these three objectives.