By Susanne Bruyere Director, Employment and Disability Institute, Cornell University Employers play an important role in creating workplaces that are inclusive of individuals with disabilities. Formal and informal organizational policies and practices are a key component of what determines whether a workplace is or is not disability-friendly. Over the last several years, Cornell University has conducted research focused specifically on employer practices and their role in increasing the rate and quality of employment for individuals with disabilities. Researchers from Cornell will be presenting the findings of this research on October 22-23, 2013 in Washington D.C. at a State of the Science conference entitled Innovative Research on Employer Practices: Improving Employment for People with Disabilities. This two-day event will feature private sector representatives from: Aetna, Hilton Worldwide, MERCK, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and others. The event will also feature representatives from federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Office of Disability Employment, Policy (ODEP), National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and more. Event presentations and discussions will include findings on:
- Impact of human resource policies and practices, organizational climate, and leadership for employees with disabilities
- Absence and disability management practices for an aging workforce
- Employers’ view on organizational challenges and business opportunities
- Employment discrimination charges filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act
Presentations will tackle critical issues such as institutional barriers to employment, with commentary from public and private sector stakeholders. The event will also highlight two employer case studies on employees with disabilities and workplace engagement. Employers and others are invited to register for this event – registration is free, but required. Visit the event website www.epstateofthescience.org to learn more.
About the Research
This State of the Science conference will highlight research from the Employer Practices Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (EPRRTC) at Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute. The EPRRTC conducts research and training activities designed to promote employer practices related to the improvement of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The employment rate in 2011 of people with disabilities aged 21-64 was 33.4%, compared to 75.6% of people without disabilities[i].The EPRRTC aims to improve this figure by conducting research on employer best practices and strategies, and disseminating that information via publications and presentations. The October conference in Washington D.C. is the culmination of three years of research resulting in new analysis of the state of disability and employment from a variety of perspectives including; employer case studies, analysis of national census and administrative data sets, such as analysis of compensation and EEOC charge data, and surveys of human resources professionals.