ILR's Employment and Disability Institute (EDI) awarded $5 million research grant

EDI will study transition of youth with disabilities from high school to work
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Helping high-school students with disabilities move successfully into good jobs and go on to college poses special challenges for educators and disability professionals across New York state and the country. Cornell University's ILR School and its Employment and Disability Institute (EDI) will partner with New York state on a five-year, $5.1 million research study to identify best practices that can help improve the transition process and inform state and national policy.

EDI received the $5.1 million research grant from The New York State Education Department's Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID). The study will examine the services provided by 60 schools in rural, suburban, and metropolitan districts across the state to youth with disabilities as they transition from high school to work, higher education, and community living.

The study also will evaluate the ways in which these schools collaborate with rehabilitation providers, assisted living facilities, and other community agencies to support transitions. VESID is providing funding to these schools through its Model Transition Project to help stimulate school-agency collaborations and provide more school-to-work transition services.

"Too many youth with disabilities are not accessing the vocational rehabilitation system before they leave high school because they don’t often see the benefits, or they are getting into the system too late, which negatively affects their success," says David Brewer, EDI program lead for this research study. "We expect our research findings to address these concerns and ultimately help increase their options for employment and secondary education, and help turn around the high rate of unemployment that people with disabilities experience."

Brewer adds that this contract is the result of a 16+ year relationship with the state education department and builds on past disability-related work that the ILR School has been doing. He says the state selected Cornell because it is uniquely positioned to do this kind of study.

EDI is one of the leading institutes of its kind offering research, continuing education, and consulting to companies, labor organizations, government agencies, schools, and communities throughout the U.S. and the world to accommodate and integrate individuals with disabilities. The ILR School is recognized as the world’s leading higher education institution for teaching, research, and outreach focused on advancing the world of work.

Contact: David Brewer, Cornell University ILR School/EDI
drb22@cornell.edu, 607.254.4696