Cornell University

June 12 2012

Improving Employment

Bruyère will be lead speaker at international conference

Gathering in Taiwan to discuss improving employment for people with disabilities during the global economic recession, professionals from 30 countries will be addressed Monday by ILR Associate Dean of Outreach Susanne Bruyère.

Her speech, "Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities: Findings from the World Report on Disability and Related U.S. Research," is the conference keynote. Bruyère was a co-author of the report, produced by the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

Since the 2006 United Nations' adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol treaty, many countries have been moving to address disability issues, Bruyère said.

ILR's Employment and Disability Institute research on organizational practices contributes to the discourse, she said.

"Cornell's current efforts to address research gaps with case studies in the private and federal sectors will be a unique contribution to our understanding about specific workplace practices that minimize employment disability discrimination and maximize inclusion of people with disabilities," she said in an interview.

"ILR has a long-standing commitment to global issues, and that has included global issues for people with disabilities," said Bruyère, institute director and professor of disability studies.

For 10 years, the institute has served as the executive administrative office for the Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network on Employment and Training.

An international association, the network brings together research centers, universities, governments, trade unions and other groups to advance competitive employment and training opportunities for persons with disabilities.

"We can learn much from fresh new approaches being applied in both developed and developing countries … it has been a reciprocal learning process between the U.S. and other countries," she said.

Bruyère noted that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is considered by many as the model for legislation related to minimizing employment disability discrimination.

ILR participation in international disability issues has broadened in recent years through support from Lisa Yang '74 that has resulted in global service learning internships in India, Israel and South Africa for ILR students.

The Taiwan conference, sponsored by Workability International-Asia and the Eden Social Welfare Foundation, continues through June 20 in Taipei.

Workability International represents providers of work and employment services to persons with disabilities. More than 3.8 million persons with disabilities are engaged in work programs delivered by 131 member organizations in 42 countries.

The Eden Social Welfare Foundation, based in Taiwan, serves people with disabilities in more than 75 locations in Asia.