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Disability IS Diversity: Testing a New Approach to Reach Employers

Despite two decades of ADA protections, the economic and employment life conditions of people with disabilities have not significantly changed. Though the reasons for this are complex and multi-facetted, the attitudes and beliefs of employers are a key factor contributing to these disappointing statistics. Clearly, new approaches are needed to reach employers to enhance disability inclusiveness in the workplace. During this session, we will explore a knowing--doing gap that has limited the effectiveness of disability and employment programs. That is, though employers for the most part know about the ADA and legal compliance, this knowledge is largely not being translated into actions which will improve the working lives of people with disabilities. Further, we will explore one intervention designed to bridge this knowing--doing gap--an intervention based on building collaborations, forging strategic partnerships and offering blended learning. Finally, we will report findings from a mixed methods study of the impacts of this program. This presentation would benefit disability researchers, Human Resource professionals, disability service providers, diversity professionals, and individuals with disabilities.

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