Foreign entities are not eligible to compete for, or receive, awards made under this announcement. Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity 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 development project under this program, a grantee must use knowledge and understanding gained from research to create models, methods, tools, applications, and devices beneficial to the target population, including design and development of prototypes and processes. The DRRP must contribute to the outcome of maximizing employment outcomes of people with disabilities. To contribute to this outcome, development DRRPs must:
(a) Conduct development 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 development on a specific stage. If the DRRP seeks to support development that can be categorized under more than one stage including development that progresses from one stage to another, those stages must be clearly specified. These stages: proof of concept, proof of product, and proof of adoption, are defined in this funding opportunity announcement. Applicants must justify the need and rationale for development at the proposed stage or stages and describe fully an appropriate methodology or methodologies for the proposed development.
(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 development 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 development products to be developed under this priority.
Definitions - Stages of Development
a) Proof of concept means the stage of development where key technical challenges are resolved. Stage activities may include recruiting study participants; verifying product requirements; and implementing and testing (typically in controlled contexts) key concepts, components, or systems; and resolving technical challenges. A technology transfer plan is typically developed and transfer partner(s) identified, and plan implementation may have started. Stage results establish that a product concept is feasible.
(b) Proof of product means the stage of development where a fully-integrated and working prototype meeting critical technical requirements is created. Stage activities may include recruiting study participants, implementing and iteratively refining the prototype, testing the prototype in natural or less-controlled contexts, and verifying that all technical requirements are met. A technology transfer plan is typically ongoing in collaboration with the transfer partner(s). Stage results establish that a product embodiment is realizable.
(c) Proof of adoption means the stage of development where a product is substantially adopted by its target population and used for its intended purpose. Stage activities typically include completing product refinements and continued implementation of the technology transfer plan in collaboration with the transfer partner(s). Other activities include measuring users' awareness of the product; opinion of the product; decisions to adopt, use, and retain products; and identifying barriers and facilitators impacting product adoption. Stage results establish that a product is beneficial.