Foreign entities are not eligible to compete for, or receive, awards made under this announcement.
July 26, 2020 marked the 30th Anniversary of the signing into law of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title I of the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the area of employment. Despite the signing of the ADA, people with disabilities continue to experience disproportionately lower rates of employment and significantly lower wages than people without disabilities (Houtenville & Boege, 2019). In recent years, the trends in the employment-population ratio, the unemployment rate, and the labor force participation rate have improved for people with disabilities. However, these indicators continue to lag far behind those for people without disabilities. In 2020 these disparities widened as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis (Center for Economic Policy Research, 2020).
In 2019, the employment-population ratio of people with disabilities was 19.3 percent, compared to 66.3 percent for people without disabilities (U.S. Department of Labor, 2020). And, of the people with a disability who were employed, 82 percent were either under-employed or worked part-time (U.S. Department of Labor, 2020). The unemployment rate for people with a disability was 7.3 percent in 2019. This unemployment rate for people with disabilities was about twice as high as the rate for those without a disability (U.S. Department of Labor, 2020). The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities is about 33 percent. This is less than half the labor force participation rate of working-age people without disabilities (76.2%) (nTIDE, 2020).
Federal and state employment policy initiatives aim to effectively improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Under Executive Order 13548 of July 26, 2010, the Federal government was required to focus on the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities in the Federal workforce (Executive Order 13548 2010). The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Employment First (U.S. Department of Labor, 2021), and the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) (U.S. Department of Labor, 2021) exemplify multi-faceted strategies that support state efforts to increase access to education, training, and support services needed to obtain and retain employment. Collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies and service providers is also a key feature of these strategies. People with disabilities are a heterogeneous population with diverse strengths, needs, and preferences. Improving the employment outcomes of this broad population will require an increasingly robust research base that demonstrates and supports effective policies and practices.
NIDILRR has funded a wide range of disability research and development projects in the area of employment. In accordance with NIDILRR’s Long Range Plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2023 (the Plan), NIDILRR seeks to build on this growing body of work by supporting innovative and well-designed research and development projects that focus on a specific stage or stages of research or development and that fall under one or more of NIDILRR’s general employment priority areas. NIDILRR aims to fund two Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) on Employment for Individuals with Disabilities.
Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (1990).
Center for Economic Policy Research. (2020, October). Disability and Employment in the Time of Coronavirus: The 30th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities. https://cepr.net/disability-and-employment-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-t…
Executive Order No. 13548. (2010). Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals With Disabilities. Federal Register Vol 75, No 146: 45039-45041.
Houtenville, A. & Boege, S. (2019). Annual Report on People with Disabilities in America: 2018. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire, Institute on Disability. https://disabilitycompendium.org/sites/default/files/user-uploads/2019%…
nTIDE. (2020, November). September 2020 Jobs Report: Unease Rises as Numbers Fall for Americans with Disabilities. https://www.prweb.com/releases/ntide_october_2020_jobs_report_numbers_h… mericans_with_disabilities/prweb17529110.htm
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. 93-112 Stat. (1973).
U.S. Department of Education. (2019, March). PROMISE: Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income. http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/promise/index.html
U.S. Department of Labor. (2021, January). Employment First. Office of Disability Employment Policy. http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/employmentfirst.htm
U.S. Department of Labor. (2021, January). Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN). Office of Disability Employment Policy. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/resources/earn
U.S. Department of Labor. (2020, February). Persons with A Disability: Labor Force Characteristics—2019. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/disabl.nr0.htm
Priority-–DRRP on Employment of Individuals with Disabilities.
The Administrator of the Administration for Community Living establishes a priority for
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) on Employment of People with Disabilities. In carrying out a research project under this priority, a grantee must identify one or more hypotheses or research questions and, based on the hypotheses or research questions identified, perform an intensive, systematic study directed toward producing (1) new or full scientific knowledge or (2) understanding of the subject or problem studied. The DRRP must contribute to the outcome of maximizing employment outcomes of people with disabilities. To contribute to this outcome, research DRRPs must:
(a) Conduct research activities in one or more of the following priority areas, focusing on people with disabilities as a group or on people in specific disability or demographic subpopulations of people with disabilities:
Technology to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
Individual and environmental factors associated with improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
Interventions that contribute to improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Interventions include any strategy, practice, program, policy, or tool that, when implemented as intended, contributes to improvements in outcomes for people with disabilities.
Effects of government policies and programs on employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
Practices and policies that contribute to improved employment outcomes for transition-aged youth with disabilities.
Vocational rehabilitation (VR) practices that contribute to improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities;
(b) Demonstrate, in its original application, that people from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds will be included in study samples in sufficient numbers to generate knowledge and products that are relevant to the racial and ethnic diversity of the population of people with disabilities being studied. The DRRP must describe and justify, in its original application, the racial and ethnic distribution of people with disabilities who will participate in the proposed research or development activities.
(c) Focus its research on a specific stage of research. If the DRRP is to conduct research that can be categorized under more than one stage including research that progresses from one stage to another, those stages must be clearly specified. These stages: exploration and discovery, intervention development, intervention efficacy, and scale-up evaluation, are defined in this funding opportunity announcement. Applicants must justify the need and rationale for research at the proposed stage or stages and describe fully an appropriate methodology or methodologies for the proposed research.
(d) Conduct knowledge translation activities (i.e., utilization, dissemination) in order to facilitate stakeholder (e.g., individuals with disabilities, employers, policymakers, practitioners) use of the knowledge, interventions, programs, technologies, or products that result from the research activities conducted under paragraph (a) of this priority.
(e) Involve key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted under paragraph (a) of this priority in order to maximize the relevance and usability of the research products to be developed under this priority.
Definitions: Stages of Research:
Exploration and discovery means the stage of research that generates hypotheses or theories by conducting new and refined analyses of data, producing observational findings, and creating other sources of research-based information. This research stage may include identifying or describing the barriers to and facilitators of improved outcomes of individuals with disabilities, as well as identifying or describing existing practices, programs, or policies that are associated with important aspects of the lives of individuals with disabilities. Results achieved under this stage of research may inform the development of interventions or lead to evaluations of interventions or policies. The results of the exploration and discovery stage of research may also be used to inform decisions or priorities.
Intervention development means the stage of research that focuses on generating and testing interventions that have the potential to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Intervention development involves determining the active components of possible interventions, developing measures that would be required to illustrate outcomes, specifying target populations, conducting field tests, and assessing the feasibility of conducting a well-designed interventions study. Results from this stage of research may be used to inform the design of a study to test the efficacy of an intervention.
Intervention efficacy means the stage of research during which a project evaluates and tests whether an intervention is feasible, practical, and has the potential to yield positive outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Efficacy research may assess the strength of the relationships between an intervention and outcomes and may identify factors or individual characteristics that affect the relationship between the intervention and outcomes. Efficacy research can inform decisions about whether there is sufficient evidence to support “scaling-up” an intervention to other sites and contexts. This stage of research can include assessing the training needed for wide-scale implementation of the intervention and approaches to evaluation of the intervention in real world applications.
Scale-up evaluation means the stage of research during which a project analyzes whether an intervention is effective in producing improved outcomes for individuals with disabilities when implemented in a real-world setting. During this stage of research, a project tests the outcomes of an evidence-based intervention in different settings. It examines the challenges to successful replication of the intervention and the circumstances and activities that contribute to successful adoption of the intervention in real-world settings. This stage of research may also include well- designed studies of an intervention that has been widely adopted in practice, but that lacks a sufficient evidence-base to demonstrate its effectiveness.