Andy Imparato, AUCD Executive Director, Speaks at the Employer Practices RRTC: State of the Science Conference

October 31, 2013

The Employer Practices Rehabilitation Research Center (EP-RRTC) convened a "State of the Science" conference in Washington, D.C. to highlight new research findings in the area of disability and employment. The EP-RRTC is funded to Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute by the U.S. Department of Education National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).  Research partners included Cornell University's Institute for Compensation Studies (ICS) and Cornell University's Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), along with other private sector and association partners such as The Conference Board and the Society for Human Resource Management.

The presentations were augmented by both public and private sector panelists, who examined the implications of the research findings for employers and policy makers.  Andy Imparato, Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), spoke on the conference's closing panel to identify the necessary next steps within the disability research field, as a result of the EP-RRTC findings; noting that the workforce participation rate of people with disabilities has still not returned to pre-recession levels.

The two day conference explored the effect of new areas of research on factors which influence employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The research has exposed existing inequities in wage and total compensation among individuals with disabilities and their non-disabled peers (even when controlling for other factors), as well as the influence of employer-provided health coverage on job change patterns.  These findings indicate an opportunity for policy strategies that are directed toward increasing the retention and advancement of people with disabilities who are currently employed, in addition to existing efforts to increase overall workforce participation.

Researchers also presented information on factors influencing the workplace engagement of people with disabilities, based on the survey results of employee perceptions in public and private sector workplace in-depth case studies.  Additionally, the results of a survey of SHRM members revealed information on effective employer practices, while a study in partnership with the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) revealed gaps in effective absence and disability management practices for an aging workforce. 

Several products were showcased at the conference, including a new cross dataset catalog of disability and compensation variables that combines 11 major data sets, and allows for the exploration of variables related to disability, health, work, compensation and employer characteristics. Data on charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have also been extracted and summarized in aggregate into a searchable database of information.  Visit www.disabilitystatistics.org/eprrtc/    to learn more about the cross dataset catalog and the EEOC charge data.

Information on the Employer Practices RRTC, related publications and research briefs can be found at; http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/p-emprrtc.cfm . Sign up for the email listserv to receive updates and information on the Employer Practices RRTC research and dissemination activities in the coming months.