Research Topics

Disability Employment

The Heldrich Center is currently examining colleges’ programmatic structures to support students with disabilities and the experiences of students in college programs. The study includes: interviews with students who have successfully completed an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a career certificate; site visits with colleges/universities and cross-site learning meetings; financial and service case studies of individual participants; and operational case studies of colleges and the services offered to students with disabilities.

From 2007 to 2009, the Heldrich Center conducted an evaluation of the EmployMe program established by the New Jersey Institute of Technology under a grant from the Henry R. Kessler Foundation. The EmployMe! program provided training to individuals with disabilities to help them obtain information technology jobs. The Center’s evaluation featured a quasi-experimental design that compared the employment outcomes of participants with those of similar individuals who did not participate in the program.

In 2010, under its work for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Policy and the NTAR Leadership Center, the Heldrich Center conducted research to explore issues relating to long-term unemployment and dislocated workers with disabilities, including whether people with disabilities who had lost their jobs were seeking services from the public workforce system.

In June 2010, the Heldrich Center evaluated the site mapping, nomenclature, and content of the employment section of the Disability.gov Web site. Disability.gov has over a quarter of a million visitors every month who seek information about topics such as employment, housing, benefits, civil rights, and education. The Heldrich Center provided observations and recommendations for reorganizing the employment specific section of the site to make it more user-friendly and effective for Disability.gov users, including job seekers, workforce professionals, and employers.

The Heldrich Center is conducting an evaluation of Platform to Employment, a recently launched initiative of The WorkPlace, the workforce investment board for Southwest Connecticut. Through Platform to Employment—recently featured on CBS 60 Minutes as a potential national model—The WorkPlace is offering assistance to long-term unemployed individuals, especially those who have exhausted extended unemployment insurance benefits, to help them prepare for returning to work.

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