Research Topics

Disability Employment

In 2015, the Kessler Foundation requested that the Heldrich Center begin performing regular evaluations of the Foundation’s Community Employment Grant Program grantees that are largely located in the State of New Jersey.

Through a contract with the Kessler Foundation and the Poses Foundation, the Heldrich Center is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the Achieving Change Together (ACT) Employment Innovation Initiative, a corporate disability and inclusion project designed to increase the number of qualified employees with disabilities working for PepsiCo, and to improve their employment outcomes and career experiences.

While the job market in New Jersey is improving, more than 41% of the state’s job seekers — over 125,000 individuals — have been jobless for more than six months, giving New Jersey the second highest long-term unemployment rate in the nation. Additionally, thousands more have given up and dropped out of the labor force.

Unemployment causes great stress not only on the individual who lost their job, but also to their entire family. The impact of unemployment has been researched at length by the Heldrich Center through its Work Trends surveys. From verbatim accounts from the unemployed to opinions of Americans who have been seeking employment for a year or longer, an in-depth portrait of social and economic experience is provided.

Workplace matters are timeless topics that the Heldrich Center has highlighted with the following Work Trends surveys. In American Attitudes About Work, Employers, and Government, worker attitudes toward employer/employee loyalty, overall job satisfaction, the value of education and training, and the government’s role in the workforce were explored. Next, workplace wellness programs were reviewed in Healthy At Work?, including the unequal access to these programs and views and opinions of employer-provided wellness programs.