Promise Lessons Learned

collage of promise participants surround the statement "you did it"

As Wisconsin Promise comes to an end, we learned several key lessons along the way. We always knew our Promise Youth were awesome, and now we have the data to support it.

Promise Youth



Those who met with a financial coach had five times as many jobs.


83% of those who had an Individual Development Account (IDA, matched savings account) were more likely to be employed.

What does this mean?

We learned a lot!

  • It’s important for youth with disabilities to have paid work experience while in high school.
  • Most Promise youth and families preferred benefits and financial counseling on an ongoing basis instead of receiving all the information at once.
  • Youth had higher employment rates when they and their families had higher expectations to what is possible to achieve after high school and who received training about how to access needed resources and services.

Want to learn more?

There are more results and recommendations.

Wisconsin Promise Stories

Watch our video stories

Read Promise Articles

Early findings from the Wisconsin PROMISE project: Implications for policy and practice.

Source: Hartman, E., Schlegelmich, A., Roskowski, M., Anderson, C.A., & Tansey, T.N. (2019). Early findings from the Wisconsin PROMISE project: Implications for policy and practice, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 51, 167-181.

Wisconsin PROMISE cost-benefit analysis and sustainability framework.

Source: Anderson, C., Schlegelmilch, A., & Hartman, E. (2019). Wisconsin PROMISE cost-benefit analysis and sustainability framework. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 51, 253-261.

Building a Management Information System with Inter-Agency Data Sharing to Improve Data-Based Decision Making Across Systems: Experiences From Wisconsin PROMISE

Source: Guentherman, M., Hartman, E., Schlegelmilch, A., Brinck, E.A., & Anderson, C.A. (2020). Building a management information system with inter-agency data sharing to improve data-based decision making across systems: Experiences from Wisconsin PROMISE. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin.

The impact of work incentives benefits counseling on employment outcomes of transition-age youth receiving supplemental security income (SSI) benefits.

Source: Schlegelmilch, A., Roskowski, M., Anderson, C., Hartman, E., & Decker-Mauer, H. (2019). The impact of work incentives benefits counseling on employment outcomes of transition-age youth receiving supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 127-136.

The Relationship Among Demographic Factors, Transition Services, and Individual Development Account (IDA) Saving Participation Among Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities

Source: Jones, W.D., Phillips, B.N., Hartman, E., Bishop, M., Tansey, T., & Anderson, C. (2020). The relationship among demographic factors, transition services, and Individual Development Account (IDA) saving participation among transition-age youth with disabilities. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin.

Understanding PROMISE Participation Transition Experiences Using Qualitative Data: Reflections on Accessing Services and Employment Outcomes

Source: Schlegelmilch, A., Anderson, C.A., Brinck, E.A., Roskowski, M., Trainor, A., & Hartman, E. (2020). Understanding PROMISE participant transition experiences using qualitative data: Reflections on accessing services and employment outcomes. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin.

Psychometric Validation of a Measure Assessing Functional Limitations of Students with Disabilities: An Adaptation of the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0

Source: Umucu, E., Schlegelmilch, A., Brinck, E., Hartman, El., Iwanaga, K., Estala, V., Roskowski, M., Lee, B., Anderson, C., & Tansey, T. (2020). Psychometric validation of a measure assessing functional limitations of students with disabilities: An adaptation of the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin.

Stages of Change Scale to Measure Work Readiness of Transition-Age Youth With Disabilities: A Promising Approach

Source: Schlegelmilch, A., Roskowski, M., Brinck, E.A., Anderson, C.A., Hartman, E., Chan, F., Tansey, T., & Decker- Maurer. (2020). Stages of change scale to measure work readiness of transition-age youth with disabilities: A promising approach. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin.

Wisconsin Promise Focus Group Report

For more information about conversations with Promise DVR Counselors about what is working with Promise and what some of the challenges are, read our focus group report.
This report was created by the Wisconsin Promise State Formative Evaluation Team with Dr. Audrey Trainor and Dr. Cayte Anderson as leads. The team conducted focus groups with Wisconsin Promise DVR Staff and this report summarizes the results. The themes of what the Wisconsin Promise Staff have learned, particularly about youth and family engagement to date, are well highlighted with lessons learned that have application for Promise, vocational rehabilitation, and other partner agencies.