Vocational rehabilitation (VR
) aims to help people with disabilities to return to the labour market. Though, there is not much evidence on its effectiveness.
We explore the effect of vocational training programmes in VR
and the VR
status itself on employment outcomes.
Using two samples from administrative data by the German Federal Employment Agency, we applied propensity score matching. We followed rehabilitants commencing VR
in 2009/2010 (N = 7,905) for four years (comparison I) and general training participants with and without VR
status completing training in 2012/2013 (N = 21,020) for one year (comparison II). For harmonisation purposes, we only considered individuals aged between 25 and 40 and excluded those in employment at the beginning of VR
Concerning the effect of training in VR
(comparison I), we observe a lock-in effect during training (p < 0.001) due to an involvement in VR
; after training, participants are more likely to obtain unsubsidised employment (0.05, p < 0.05) than non-participants, but there is no statistically significant income difference after four years. Regarding the effect of the VR
status (comparison II), rehabilitants are more likely to take up (un-)subsidised employment (0.04, p < 0.01; 0.02, p < 0.001) after training, exhibit longer employment durations (19 days, p < 0.001) and achieve higher average incomes (2,414 euro/year, p < 0.001) compared to non-rehabilitants.
Training participation helps to improve employment participation of rehabilitants. However, a longer observation period is recommended. Furthermore, the VR
status itself leads to more sustainable and better-paid employment. This is due to more comprehensive support and longer-term subsidised employment opportunities.