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 Yang-Tan Institute. It was a great success! Check back for reports and proceedings of the conference.

HR and Employer Perspectives on Effective Practices for Individuals with Disabilities and the Aging Workforce

Bio Sketches

Bill Erickson Photo

William Erickson, M.S., is a Research Specialist with the Yang-Tan Institute. Some of his current projects include providing Technical Assistance (TA) for DisabilityStatistics.org, examining the accessibility of Community College online applications and web sites, and analysis of Census 2000 disability related data. Other projects include a survey of accessibility of selected private sector e-recruiting web sites in business and job boards (Erickson, 2002) and a related survey of over 400 Human Resource professionals on their use of web processes as applied to HR and their awareness of accessibility issues and assistive technology and the analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program (LSVRSP) with regards to SSI/SSDI recipients. In collaboration with Susanne Bruyère, he has been involved in the analysis of survey data from public and private sector employers as well as federal supervisors on the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and related civil rights legislation, private sector surveys of employers on the implementation of the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) of 1995 in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and a survey of 1,000 U.S. federal supervisors regarding their experience with and knowledge of disability nondiscrimination legislation and recent presidential mandates. Previous projects include: a workers compensation managed care pilot project in New York State, a study examining the relationships between indoor air quality and sick building syndrome within the Department of Environmental Design and Analysis, and the Cornell Retirement and Well-Being Study, a longitudinal study examining issues including changes in health, retirement planning, post-retirement work, community participation and volunteerism in the Cornell University College of Human Ecology. Bill has a masters degree in Human Environment Relations from the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University.

Sarah von Schrader Photo

Sarah von Schrader, Ph.D., joined the Yang-Tan Institute (YTI), School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University as a Research Associate in June 2009, and now serves as the Assistant Director of Research at EDI. Sarah's research focuses on employer practices related to employer success in recruiting, hiring, and advancing individuals with disabilities. She has been working on a long term project using discrimination charge data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition to these and other research projects, Sarah evaluates the process and impact of several of the programs offered by the Yang-Tan Institute. Sarah received her doctorate in Education Measurement and Statistics from the University of Iowa in 2006 and bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Colorado College in 1994. Prior to coming to EDI, Sarah worked in the fields of health policy and management, educational testing, and evaluation.

Nancy Hammer is Senior Government Affairs Policy Counsel in the Government Affairs department of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Nancy joined SHRM in January 2006 and is responsible for advocating SHRM membership views in federal rulemaking and in response to regulatory proposals affecting the HR profession. In addition, Nancy tracks court cases that raise critical issues for the HR profession and evaluates whether SHRM should intervene as amicus to ensure the HR viewpoint is considered by the court. Prior to joining SHRM, Nancy spent 5 years as Legislative Counsel for Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE). Nancy also served as Director of the International Division and Policy Counsel for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Nancy received her law degree from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri and her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Conference Remarks

In this session, "HR and Employer Perspectives on Effective Practices for Individuals with Disabilities and the Aging Workforce," Bill Erickson, Sarah von Schrader, and Nancy Hammer discuss the benefits, drawbacks, and outcomes of two independent surveys conducted in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management and the Disability Management Employers Coalition.

Questions and Answers

Question, Participant:

This question is for Mr. Erickson. In the statistics that you showed, the surveys that you did, did you segregate the different types of disabilities? There's mental, there's physical, various types? I know there's so many of them, but did you categorize types?

Answer, William A. Erickson:

We didn't attempt to do that. That would have been interesting, yes. But we used a very general definition of disability. One of the concerns when we do these sorts of surveys is the employer thinks okay, disability. It's the person in a wheelchair or it's a person who's blind or whatever, obvious disabilities.

So gave that a very general definition. We didn't try to split things out. That would be fascinating to do, but very difficult to do as well. But it's something we would like to do at some point, if we can figure out a good way, a good approach.

Question, Participant:

I have a question for Bill Erickson. I want you to tell us again who the survey was sent out to, and when you looked at the policies and practices, was that percentage of respondents or percentage of employers?

Answer, William A. Erickson:

It was sent out to over 2,000 SHRM members, and we got about 700 respondents from that group. What was your second question?

Question, Participant:

When you did the policies and practices, and you gave us the percent, was that percent of the 2,000 respondents or was it percent of employers, because like if 50 from one employer was answering of those respondents, would you have known that?

Answer, William A. Erickson:

Unfortunately, the way SHRM tracks their membership, we don't know exactly what organization they work for. But given that we were sampling from 125,000 SHRM members, private employer members in the U.S.

So the likelihood of actually getting multiple people responding from the same organization is really quite low. So we feel pretty confident that they were actually separate employers. There may have been some duplicates, but not 50 certainly. Unfortunately, they don't track things by organizational level because people join on an individual basis rather than organization.

But, yes, through many discussions we had about that, we came to the conclusion it probably was not a concern. So it is respondents of this 675 that actually participated in the survey, and most likely most of those were representing separate companies or separate organizations.


To view a plain text version of the slides seen below, please see the
Plain Text Summaries.