Framing the Issues

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Individual-Level Characteristics Related to Employment Among Individuals with Disabilities (IC-RRTC) generated new knowledge about the role of individual characteristics on employment outcomes. Despite the ADA and advances in medicine and technology, people with disabilities, as a group, have become economically less self-sufficient over the last few decades. Employment rates have declined, reliance on public benefits has increased, and household incomes have fallen further behind those of other households. However, some individuals with disabilities fare relatively well in the labor market and more can be learned about the factors that facilitate their success. The IC-RRTC worked toward improving strategies and interventions designed to foster better employment outcomes for the various subpopulations of people with disabilities.


Mission and Intended Impact

The IC-RRTC launched the Survey of Disability and Employment (SDE), a survey of recent applicants to three State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies. The SDE provided an opportunity to learn more about the barriers and facilitators to employment. It contains information on employment histories, accommodations and employment supports, specific employment barriers, family and social support, health, and public and private insurance and benefits.

The design of the SDE was informed by our findings in the first two phases of the IC-RRTC, which included a comprehensive review of the existing literature on employment outcomes for persons with disabilities, and a series of projects using existing survey and administrative data to examine individual, social, economic, and environmental barriers and facilitators to employment.

To ensure the utilization of our findings in the development of new strategies and innovations, the Kessler Foundation IC-RRTC team included the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR). In addition we had a Scientific Review Committee (SRC) which includes representatives from key stakeholder audiences. 



The IC-RRTC interdisciplinary team included:

  • • Center for Essential Management Services (CEMS)
    • Cornell University 
    • Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR)
    • Mathematica Policy Research (MPR)
    • University of New Hampshire 
    • Kessler Foundation

The IC-RRTC was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research under cooperative agreement H133B100011, from 2010 - 2015. The information developed by the IC-RRTC does not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government (Edgar, 75.620 (b)).