The U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy has awarded $2 million to ILR’s Yang-Tan Institute for the first year of a four-year, $8 million agreement to operate an employer-focused disability policy development and technical assistance center.
The center will conduct research, engage with the business community and identify effective policies and practices that support business needs. It will also provide resources, technical assistance and training to help public- and private-sector employers -- including federal contractors -- recruit, hire, retain and advance individuals with disabilities. The center will build on the work of the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.
Yang-Tan Institute Director Susanne Bruyère, who is the center’s principal investigator and project co-director, said, “Cornell is very pleased to be working with a consortium of partners, including Concepts, Inc., a communications firm, the Heildrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, and DisabilityIN, an employer membership association promoting employment of people with disabilities.”
The Cornell consortium, in cooperation with the Office of Disability Employment Policy, will operate and manage the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion, the employer-focused policy development and technical assistance center. The center will deploy a rapid cycle research strategy to ensure all policy review and development work is based in sound research practices and systematically engages business intermediary organizations across all stages of work, from problem formulation and exploration to resource development and dissemination, Bruyère said.
The national center will work with 10 business intermediaries to inform national employer policy and practices around workplace disability inclusion. Partners include the Center for Advanced Human Resources Studies at the Cornell ILR School Institute for Compensation Studies, both at the ILR School, DirectEmployers, Disability Management Employer Coalition, HR Policy Association, International Labour Organization Global Business and Disability Network, National Industry Liaison Group, Society for Human Resource Management, The Conference Board and Disability:IN.
The Yang-Tan Institute was named in 2015 by benefactors K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan, but was preceded by employment- and disability-focused initiatives housed in the ILR School since the 1960s. More concertedly since 1990 and the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the institute has focused on employer practices to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy said the center led by the Yang-Tan Institute will “provide employers with the latest guidance, tools and resources to gain and retain skilled people with disabilities, thereby strengthening their workforce and America’s economy.”