Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Henry, A.D., Petkauskos, K., Stanislawzyk, J., & Vogt, J. (2014). Employer-recommended strategies to increase opportunities for people with disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 41 (3), 237-248.
Title:  Employer-recommended strategies to increase opportunities for people with disabilities
Authors:  Henry, A.D., Petkauskos, K., Stanislawzyk, J., & Vogt, J.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Qualitative research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Both public and private sector employers understand the importance of diversity in 21st century workplaces. Diversity efforts with regards to gender, ethnicity, age, and race are widespread. Seventy percent of executives of large corporations described these types of diversity efforts in a recent survey. Efforts to include disability hiring as part of diversity are less common with only 52% of those executives describing efforts to improve disability hiring. Much of the lack of disability hiring stems from reluctance on the part of employers to hire individuals with disabilities.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to examine employers’ perspectives on challenges, advantages, and recommendations relating to hiring individuals with disabilities.
Setting:  Roundtable discussions with employers took place in Eastern and Central Massachusetts.
Study sample:  Seventy-four individuals took place in roundtable discussions. Most (69%) of these individuals represented 30 different companies in Massachusetts. The majority of these individuals were in senior leadership positions. Sixteen (22%) participants represented CRP or state agencies. Seven (9%) participants were individuals with disabilities.
Data collection and analysis:  Roundtable discussions consisted of 15 to 23 participants that were provided with a guided set of questions. Each discussion lasted about 2.5 hours. After each discussion the research team identified common themes.
Findings:  Common themes that emerged among challenges to hiring individuals with disabilities were stigma, uncertainty about abilities, and the complexity of the public vocational rehabilitation (VR) system. Themes that emerged among advantages to hiring individuals with disabilities were increase in diversity, expanding talent, and increasing brand loyalty. The employers recommended business-to-business peer networks and improved coordination among the VR system to increase hiring.
Conclusions:  Innovations in the VR system and a change in employer attitudes can have wide ranging benefits for the hiring of individuals with disabilities.