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ACL Awards Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Practices

October 5, 2021

During National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) ACL's National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) is announcing it has awarded a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC)  project grant in the amount of $875,000 every year for five years (September 1, 2021 - August, 31 2026) to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The objective of the Disability Employer Practices RRTC is to produce new scientifically rigorous, and scalable, data and evidence to meaningfully increase the employment of persons with disabilities. 

During the next five years, the RRTC will design and implement a series of studies to provide valid, reliable, and scalable metrics to improve employment practices for persons with disabilities across the employment life cycle, with particular consideration of post-COVID pandemic “new norm” business practices facing American businesses, and their job applicants and new hires, in retaining, advancing, and accommodating employees with disabilities. Together, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Harvard University researchers, with a strong history of collaboration and expertise on the employment of persons with disabilities, will work with three prominent disability employment organizations: National Organization on Disability (NOD), Disability:IN, and Bender Consulting, each nationally recognized by employers and persons with disabilities as experts on employer practices for recruiting, hiring, accommodating, retaining and advancing workers with disabilities.

The projects in this RRTC are among the first to use and integrate quasi-experimental and randomized control trial (RCT) studies to examine the identification, efficacy, and scalability of employer practices hypothesized to measurably increase information necessary for workplace climates of inclusion, employee-employer trust, and positive employment outcomes, among other core outcomes. The RRTC also proposes a scientifically rigorous and expansive examination of people with disabilities via an intersectionality lens, focused on individuals with disabilities who have multiple minority identities along race/ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, and age. The findings will provide diverse individuals across the spectrum of disabilities and employers access to new, practical, and effective knowledge, and knowledge translation, to explore innovative paths to employment and career advancement, with measurable outcomes addressed.

The RRTC has three integrated primary project streams: (1) Quasi-experimental evidence on best practices across the employment life cycle from committed major companies and smaller businesses; (2) RCT evidence on effects of practices on trust and self-disclosure among job applicants and current employees, and from interventions on accommodations for individuals with less visible disabilities (e.g., mental health, cognitive); and (3) Effects of practices on smaller employers and healthcare workers.

The research constitutes a major leap forward in analysis of disability employment practices. The data will provide a robust basis for understanding causality underlying the relationship between disability practices and employment outcomes for people with disabilities. RRTC products will include virtual and in-person trainings for business leaders, VR and workforce development professionals, and people with disabilities, with information in practice briefs and newsletters, academic articles and presentations, webinars and podcasts.

Contact Kirstin Painter at NIDILRR if you have questions about the project. 

NIDILRR, part of ACL, generates new knowledge and promotes its effective use so that people with disabilities can perform activities of their choice in the community. NIDILRR also works to expand society’s capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for people with disabilities.

Last modified on 10/05/2021

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