Effects of Vocational Re-training on Employment Outcomes Among Persons with Disabilities in Germany: A Quasi-Experiment

Nicolas Echarti*, Esther Schuering, Cathal O'Donoghue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Purpose To investigate how completing vocational re-training influenced income and employment days of working-age people with disabilities in the first 8 years after program admission. The investigation also included the influence of vocational re-training on the likelihood of receiving an earnings incapacity pension and on social security benefit receipt. Methods This retrospective cohort study with 8 years follow up was based on data from 2399 individuals who had completed either a 1-year vocational re-training program (n = 278), or a 2-year vocational re-training program (n = 1754) or who were admitted into re-training but never completed the program (n = 367). A propensity score-based method was used to account for observed differences and establish comparability between program graduates and program dropouts. Changes in outcomes were examined using the inverse probability-weighted regression adjustment method. Results After controlling for other factors, over the 8 years after program admission, graduates of 1-year re-training, on average, were employed for an additional 405 days, 95% CI [249 days, 561 days], and had earned euro24,260 more than without completed re-training, 95% CI [euro12,805, euro35,715]. Two-year program completers, on average, were employed for 441 additional days, 95% CI [349 days, 534 days], and had earned euro35,972 more than without completed re-training, 95% CI [euro27,743, euro44,202]. The programs also significantly reduced the number of days on social-security and unemployment benefits and lowered the likelihood of an earnings incapacity pension. Conclusion Policies to promote the labor market re-integration of persons with disabilities should consider that vocational re-training may be an effective tool for sustainably improving work participation outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-234
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Return to work
  • Rehabilitation
  • Vocational re-training
  • Program effectiveness
  • Propensity score
  • WORK

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