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Employer-recommended strategies to increase opportunities for people with disabilities

by Henry, A, Petkauskos, K., Stanislawzk, J & Vogt, Jay

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, . (2014). Employer-recommended strategies to increase opportunities for people with disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 41(3), 237-248.
https://doi.org/10.3233/JVR-140716

Henry, A, Petkauskos, K., Stanislawzk, J & Vogt, Jay. (2014).  Employer-recommended strategies to increase opportunities for people with disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 41, 237-248.

Abstract: The employment rate among persons with disabilities is less than half the rate among persons without disabilities. Broad innovations are needed to reduce this disparity.

OBJECTIVE: We examined employers' perspective related to: a) challenges they face when hiring people with disabilities, b) advantages (i.e. the business case) to employing people with disabilities, and c) their recommendations for innovations in both the public disability employment services systems and their own hiring practices to increase employment of people with disabilities.

METHODS: We conducted four focus groups with a total of 74 participants. Participants were purposively sampled among Massachusetts private and public sector employers. Qualitative methods were used to analyze the data.

RESULTS: Employers identified stigma, uncertainties about applicant abilities, and the complexity of the public disability employment service system as hiring challenges, and increasing diversity, expanding talent and increasing brand loyalty as advantages to employing people with disabilities. Employers recommended establishing business- to-business networks and improving coordination across the disability employment service system to increase job opportunities for people with disabilities.

CONCLUSIONS: Service system innovations and changes in employer hiring practices may increase employment among people with disabilities and have benefits to employers and companies, especially those looking to diversity their workforces.

Reprinted from the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation with permission from IOS Press.