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Education and Employment

Syracuse University receives $4.3 million to lead disability-inclusive employment policy

Front view of woman in wheelchair working at desk

Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute has received a $4.3 million from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)  to lead a new rehabilitation research center for disability-inclusive employment policy. 

Given the adverse impacts of COVID-19 – and with more than 50 million individuals nationwide having lost jobs – the RRTC will address current challenges to the employment and economic advancement of persons with disabilities.

“Today’s unprecedented health and economic challenges raised by the coronavirus pandemic require a comprehensive analysis of US employment policy for individuals with disabilities,” says University Professor Peter Blanck, BBI Chairman and Principal Investigator for the project. “The new RRTC examines the employment lifecycle in consideration of individual disabilities, race/ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other identities. It will examine national and local policies and programs to promote employment and economic advancement of people with disabilities.”

The RRTC’s agenda is led by diverse and influential members of the disability community. The Center also involves nationally recognized researchers from BBI, Harvard University, and Rutgers University, along with leading national policy and disability organizations.

To inform policies and behavior, the RRTC team will target key audiences, including employers, service providers, policymakers, and people with disabilities and their families.

Blanck adds that the RRTC will “ambitiously look across the employment lifecycle, to enhance employment entry, economic outcomes, and career growth.” The five-year project will develop a post-COVID-19 policy framework to accelerate opportunities for employment, career pathways, entrepreneurship, and economic self-sufficiency for youth and adults across the spectrum of disability.

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