Last week, HHS presented its National Disability Employment Awareness Month Observance. I was enthusiastic about the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion with Commissioner for the Administration on Disabilities Melissa Ortiz and Michael Murray from the Office of Personnel Management. My aim in the discussion was to share high level information, and highlight some of the NIDILRR-sponsored research, training, and knowledge translation activities in employment for people with disabilities conducted by ACL.
I discussed the NIDILRR domain framework for the research portfolio – Community Living, Health and Function, and Employment, and the value and impact of our employment research on improving employment outcomes, broadly defined, for people across the working-age spectrum and across disability types. During the discussion, I presented major themes of NIDILRR’s employment research portfolio which include employment statistics, employer practices, return on investment, employment disincentives, school to work transition, and employment for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. More specific detail was provided on several of our Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTC) focused on employment.
I closed the discussion by directing participants to the NIDILRR-sponsored National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) at www.NARIC.com. NARIC is a valued, searchable web-based resource where the public can access information generated by NIDILRR grantees such as journal articles, books, and reports from the NARIC library; summaries of projects conducting research and/or development; and listings of organizations, agencies, and online resources that support people with disabilities. Information specialists are also available by phone to help.
The work that has been sponsored by ACL's NIDILRR in disability employment has increased the knowledge base and moved the field forward. The evidence base has grown substantially and serves to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities of all ages.