october 22nd–23rd, 2013 | washington, d.c.

Innovative Research on Employer Practices:
Improving Employment for People with Disabilities

A state of the science conference from the Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on Employer Practices Related to Employment Outcomes among Individuals with Disabilities. This two-day event highlighted the research findings from the Employer Practices Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at Cornell University ILR School's Employment and Disability Institute. It was a great success! Check back for reports and proceedings of the conference.





8:30 – 9:00AM

Registration and continental breakfast

9:00 – 9:30

Welcome and Overview
NIDRR representative
Cornell University representative: Susanne Bruyère

9:30 – 10:45

Challenges on the Minds of Employers – Learnings from Employer-Participant Working Groups
Participants: Research authors: Linda Barrington, Susanne Bruyère
Description: Employers are the linchpin to improving work outcomes for people with disabilities. Multiple employer convenings were used to inform and pressure test several RRTC research projects. This session will review the learnings from those convenings. Employer representatives on this session's panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities they face in working to recruit, retain and advance people with disabilities.

10:45 – 11:00


11:00 – 12:00PM

HR and Employer Perspectives on Effective Practices for Individuals with Disabilities and the Aging workforce
Participants: Research authors: Bill Erickson and Sarah von Schrader
Description: This presentation will discuss the findings and implications of two employer surveys. The first measured the level of implementation and effectiveness of a wide variety of disability inclusive practices and policies and examined perceived barriers to the employment of persons with disabilities gathering data from over 675 human resource (HR) professionals. The second examined leading practices for retaining an aging workforce from the perspective of over 800 disability management professionals.

12:00 – 1:15


12:30 – 1:00

Keynote speaker (Announcement to come!)

1:15 – 2:30

Inside the Workplace: Case Studies of Factors Influencing Engagement of People with Disabilities

Participants: Research authors: Lisa Nishi and Susanne Bruyère

Description: In contrast to the cross-organizational research design of our other projects, the purpose of this project was to conduct a case study of one federal and one private organization. We focus our presentation on the employees' view of three primary issues emerging from our other research projects: 1) self-disclosure, both of one's disability status and also of one's need for an accommodation; 2) perceptions related to disability discrimination (including factors that impact their likelihood); and 3) employee and managerial perceptions of, and experiences with (where applicable) disability policies and practices w ithin their organization.

2:30 – 3:15

Patterns of Employment and Skills Match: Implications for Rehabilitation Policy and Practice

Participants: Research authors: Kevin Hallock and Xin Jin

Description: In this presentation, we use the U.S. Department of Labor's O*NET to consider characteristics of jobs that are more likely associated with persons with disabilities and their non-disabled peers. We consider and evaluate whether persons with disabilities are in different kinds of jobs and how 'in demand' specific job types are. In addition, we consider whether persons with disabilities are over- or under-represented in the fastest growing jobs.

3:15 – 3:30


3:30 – 4:45

Employer Panel: Reactions to Day's Presentations and Discussion

Description: Employer representatives will share their perspectives on how the research findings presented can inform their workplace policies and practices, as well as discuss initiatives within their own organizations that have facilitated increased recruitment, retention and inclusion of people with disabilities.

5:00 – 7:00





8:30 – 9:00AM

Continental breakfast

9:00 – 10:00

Analysis of Wage and Total Compensation Gaps by Disability Measure
Participants: Research authors: Kevin Hallock and Xin Jin
Description: We link several comprehensive national demographic surveys by occupation to rich occupation-level data on benefits to construct a careful measure of total compensation. We use this to explore the pay gaps between workers with disabilities and their non-disabled peers. We find considerable heterogeneity in these estimated gaps by measures of pay, definition of disability and data source used.

10:00 – 11:00

Employer-Provided Health Insurance and Job Mobility
Participants: Research author: Arun Karpur
Description: Access to healthcare remains to be a critical element in employment of persons with disabilities. Utilizing nationally existing restricted-access secondary data sets we observed that access to employer-paid health insurance reduced job-mobility among employees with disabilities and led to longer work-tenure. Our research demonstrates value of offering health insurance in retaining qualified employees with disabilities. The findings of our analysis and its implications will be discussed in the context of upcoming changes in health insurance policies as a result of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

11:00 – 11:15


11:15 – 12:15PM

Discrimination Charges: Identifying Patterns and Employer Factors
Participants: Research author: Sarah von Schrader, Zafar Nazarov
Description: This presentation will highlight what we have learned from examining data on employment discrimination charges filed under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We will highlight trends and patterns in these data such as charge filing rates and characteristics of employer receiving charges. Finally, we will discuss implications and the importance of employer practice in minimizing perceived discrimination

12:15 – 1:30

Lunch Buffet

12:30 – 1:00

Keynote speaker

1:30 – 2:30

Panel Discussion
Description: A panel of employer leaders, business associations and federal and state agency representatives will discuss the implications of the research findings to inform key issues in employment of people with disabilities to date, and implications for future good practice. Emerging issues such as the mature workforce, returning veterans, and the implementation of the U.N. Convention of the Rights of people with disabilities for future workplace practice and related public policy will also be discussed.

2:30 – 3:00

Next Steps in Employer Practices Policy, Practices and Research and Wrap Up
Description: The Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration along with a Cornell University Representative will make brief closing comments, outlining the next steps in the final two years of the Employer Practices RRTC’s efforts, and the implications of research findings and conference conversations in informing these activities.

*Times subject to change.