The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Accommodations, Employment Supports and Success for People with Physical Disabilities

Three people gathered around a laptop computer on a deskThis new national center will focus on the impacts of workplace accommodation practices on employment outcomes for people with physical disabilities.  This focus is based on research conducted by CIDI and by others that show the positive impact of accommodations on employment outcomes, yet also show that employees are not getting the accommodations and workplace supports that they need.  Thus, ACCESS-PD will include research on assistive technology (AT) and universal design, but will also examine both individual (e.g., AT mastery, race/ethnicity) and environmental factors (e.g., traditional vs. non-traditional work, funding policies) associated with improved employment outcomes.

Research Projects

ACCESS-PD includes four research projects that explore different factors that impact employment success. Each of the projects will make use of a common, omnibus survey that will enable the projects to leverage their data sets.

 

  • R1. Longitudinal Study: The Impact of AT & Accommodations on Employment
    Project Director: Salimah LaForce
    This project will conduct a longitudinal study of the effectiveness of AT and workplace accommodations on the employment outcomes of people with physical disabilities in traditional and contingent employment work arrangements.
     
  • R2. Contingent Employment Experiences among Marginalized Individuals with Physical Disabilities
    Project Director: Fran Harris
    This study will explore workforce participation, accommodation use, and employment outcomes for racial/ethnic minorities in non-traditional employment positions.
     
  • R3. Impact of Government Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Policies on Employment Outcomes
    Project Director: Maureen Linden
    Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) policies only provide DME that is medically necessary in the home, ignoring vocational needs. This project will explore the facilitators and barriers to employment that are presented by the interaction between DME devices and features, and personal and environmental factors.
     
  • R4. Evaluation of the Use of Accommodation Decision Tools by VR Counselors
    This project will conduct efficacy studies on two interventions:
    • R4a. The Work ACCESS online accommodation assessment tool (Project Director: Karen Milchus)
    • R4b. The Continuum of AT Mastery tool for evaluating an individual’s mastery of their AT (Project Director: Ben Satterfield).

     

 

National Resource Center

Project Director: Martha Rust

 

ACCESS-PD will also establish a National Resource Center to disseminate research findings and provide training and technical assistance to people with disabilities, service providers, and employers. The provision of training and technical assistance is essential to ensuring that service providers and employers have the tools and knowledge needed to create accessible environments and support individuals with disabilities effectively.

 

  • Training
    ACCESS-PD training will take the form of webinars, short videos, an online work preparation course, and conference presentations; for students, rehabilitation professionals, employees, and employers.
     
  • Technical Assistance
    Building off CIDI’s experience with the Georgia Tools for Life program, the project will provide technical assistance through a Customized Technical Assistance Program. The technical assistance services will also add to and make use of two other CIDI resources: 1) the Work ACCESS accommodation assessment tool and 2) the AT Network and its online community of practice.
     
  • State-of-the-Science Symposium
    In the final year of the project, ACCESS-PD will hold an online state-of-the-science symposium to share project findings and to discuss future directions for research.
     

Together, the project’s activities will significantly expand rehabilitation professionals’ employees’ and employers’ knowledge of workplace accommodations and supports. As a result, ACCESS-PD will increase their capacity to provide individualized solutions that will improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. It will also help all stakeholders identify changes to accommodation practices and business and/or government policies that, when implemented, will be more efficient and cost-effective, and will result in employees receiving the accommodations that are the most appropriate fit to their current and future needs. In the long-term, these changes may result in increased employment for people with physical disabilities, continuation of employment for people who develop a disability while employed, and greater productivity when more appropriate workplace accommodations are used.

For more information, contact: