Burton Blatt Institute Receives $4.3M to Lead National Center on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities
The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University has received $4.3 million from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to lead a new national Rehabilitation Research Training Center (RRTC) on “Disability Inclusive Employment Policy.”
Given the adverse impacts of COVID-19—and with more than 50 million individuals nationwide having lost jobs—the RRTC will address current challenges to the employment and economic advancement of persons with disabilities.
“Today’s unprecedented health and economic challenges raised by the coronavirus pandemic require a comprehensive analysis of US employment policy for individuals with disabilities,” says University Professor Peter Blanck, BBI Chairman and Principal Investigator for the project. “The new RRTC examines the employment lifecycle in consideration of individual disabilities, race/ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other identities. It will examine national and local policies and programs to promote employment and economic advancement of people with disabilities.”
The RRTC’s agenda is led by diverse and influential members of the disability community. The Center also involves nationally recognized researchers from BBI, Harvard University, and Rutgers University, along with leading national policy and disability organizations such as the National Governors Association, Disability:IN, Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living Research Utilization, Association for People Supporting Employment First, National Disability Institute, American Association of People with Disabilities, and others.
To inform policies and behavior, the RRTC team will target key audiences, including employers, service providers, policymakers, and people with disabilities and their families.
Blanck adds that the RRTC will “ambitiously look across the employment lifecycle, to enhance employment entry, economic outcomes, and career growth.” The five-year project will develop a post-COVID-19 policy framework to accelerate opportunities for employment, career pathways, entrepreneurship, and economic self-sufficiency for youth and adults across the spectrum of disability.