Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Evidence-Informed Employer Strategies for Identifying and Supporting Employees with Disabilities

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 10:35 AM
Stanford (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Laura Skaff, Independent and Jennifer Coughlin, Social Dynamics, LLC
Reaching out to and creating a supportive work environment for employees with acquired or age-related disabilities, including veterans, will be increasingly important for employers, given the aging of the “baby boomer” generation, the continuing need for experienced and older workers, and the desire to attract, retain, and advance talented workers.[1] While individuals with disabilities currently make up approximately 5 percent of the U.S. workforce,[2] they are “the largest and fastest growing minority group in the world, representing over 750 million individuals”[3] and their number is expected to jump to over 25% of the workforce by 2020.[4]

In this paper, we will first review the key employment-related requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and the new Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 503 regulations. We will then introduce promising strategies for employers to improve their responsiveness to job candidates and employees with disabilities, focusing on the use of employee resource groups (also known as affinity groups, employee networks, or business groups) to provide a more inclusive and responsive workplace. In particular, we will describe the use of these groups to promote self-disclosure, and encourage employees with acquired disabilities to return to work. Increased self-disclosure and improved supportive work environments support not only hiring workers with disabilities but also job retention and return-to-work after acquiring a disability, all of which significantly increase workforce participation by individuals with disabilities.

[1]       National Organization on Disability (n.d.).

[2]       Von Schrader & Sember-Chase (2012).

[3]       Artiles & Wallace (2012).

[4]       Toossi (2012).

Full Paper: