National Organization on Disability Selected to Partner With Rutgers, Syracuse and Harvard Universities on Major Disability Employment Research Initiative

  • National Study to Examine How Reshaping Policies Could Help Increase Employment for People With Disabilities and Make It Easier for Them to Advance Their Careers

National Organization on Disability (NOD) President Carol Glazer announced that, following a competitive process, NOD has been selected to partner with researchers from RutgersSyracuse and Harvard Universities to produce new scientifically rigorous and scalable data and evidence to meaningfully increase the employment of people with disabilities. A branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) at Rutgers to study how reshaping employer policies could make it easier for people with disabilities to advance their careers.

Supported by $4.3 million over five years, the RRTC will bring together the Rutgers Program for Disability Research in the School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers Business School, Syracuse UniversityHarvard University and NOD. Disability:IN and Bender Consulting also will participate in the research project. Today’s announcement comes as the disability community prepares to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month beginning October 1.

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“For nearly 40 years, the National Organization on Disability has worked to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities, through our work directly with leading employers and also through research,” said Glazer. “This new partnership working with these top universities will allow us to take that research to an entirely new level by providing a robust basis for understanding the causality underlying the relationship between disability practices and employment outcomes for people with disabilities.”

Over the next five years, the RRTC will design and implement a series of studies, using quasi-experimental and randomized control trials. This will provide valid, reliable and scalable metrics as to employment practices for people with disabilities across the employment life cycle, with particular consideration of post-COVID pandemic “new normal” business practices facing American businesses, their job applicants and new hires.

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“The National Organization on Disability could not be more proud to join these distinguished partners to undertake this research that arrives at just the right time,” added Glazer. “Through the RRTC we will be able to better understand the pandemic’s impact on hiring decisions and provide employers access to new and practical knowledge that will lead to innovative paths to employment for people with disabilities with measurable outcomes.”

“The employment rate of people with disabilities has remained far too low, both before and during the pandemic,” said Distinguished Professor Douglas Kruse, co-director of the Rutgers Program for Disability Research in the School of Management and Labor Relations. “The collaboration with NOD is an exciting and unprecedented approach to develop solid evidence-based data on employer practices that can improve disability employment outcomes and help companies make use of underutilized human resources.”

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