People with disabilities experience significant challenges in finding employment. The participation of people with disabilities in the workforce and their median income are both less than half that of the civilian workforce. They work part time 68 percent more frequently than people without disabilities. These disheartening results persist despite the enactment of significant federal legislation aimed at making the workplace more supportive and accessible to people with disabilities. The Conference Board Research Working Group (RWG) on Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities was convened to address how to overcome these disparities. It was sponsored by the Employment and Disability Institute at Cornell University, under a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education. The RWG members focused on four questions:
1) The business case: Is it advantageous for organizations to employ people with disabilities?
2) Organizational readiness: What should organizations do to create a workplace that enables people with disabilities to thrive and advance?
3) Measurement: How can success for both people with disabilities and the organization itself be determined?
4) Self-disclosure: How can people with disabilities, especially those whose disabilities are not obvious, be encouraged to identify themselves so that resources can be directed toward them and outcomes can be measured?