Disability Diversity Training – by Brian Phillips, Ph.D., CRC

Hi My name is Brian Phillips I’m here today to talk about a project that was completed with the support of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on the Employment of People with Physical Disabilities This project was conducted with a team that included myself, Jon Deiches, and Blaise Morrison, Fong Chan, also from University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as Jill Bezyak from University of Northern Colorado The project I’ll talk about today is on disability diversity training The focus of the project was to get into the literature on diversity training generally, and see what has been done, what we know about effective practices, and then to look more closely at how those practices might translate into disability diversity training, as well as the consideration of what disability diversity training is already being practiced and what we know about the effectiveness of those training efforts As a overview, we will talk about diversity in the workplace generally We need to have a discussion before I can get into diversity training, about how disability has been included or how much it’s been included in diversity considerations in the labor market, and I’ll then talk about diversity training, what it typically looks like, what the goals are, and effective practices Then we will look down more specifically at disability diversity training, what has been practiced and what we know about its effectiveness Then I’ll talk future directions for disability diversity training At the outset I’d like to mention, our research efforts in this project were really focused on looking at what we know from peer review literature as well as from what we could find in on-line resources The one element to that is that much of the diversity training that takes place in the labor market, and there is a lot of activity around diversity training, doesn’t make it to the peer reviewed research You as a listener might be listening to this thinking that you know of other resources or training exercises or programs that aren’t listed or discussed It is likely those omissions occurred because we haven’t adequately tested those in the research, and have them included in peer reviewed resources as though we were able to find and include them As with many stories about employment, ours starts with the consideration of the disparities, in employment for people with disabilities in relation to people without disabilities Relatively unchanged over several decades, we view that people without disabilities have a employment rate approximately 70 percent, versus that of at about 20 percent for people with disabilities So this story begs the question of, what are some of the causes? Certainly there are many One thing we know from the research as a cause for this disparity, are these employer knowledge and attitudes, knowledge and attitudes that have been shown to be barriers for employment of people with disabilities Numerous studies have been conducted, many of them with employers and supervisors, to understand better these barriers of attitudes and knowledge For example, one study conducted in 2005 was a sweeping effort, the Department of Labor, where they looked at in focus groups across 13 cities with employers and supervisors What they found was employers need more accurate information about disability to dispel the misconceptions and concerns that they have about hiring people with disabilities In another study, employers, both supervisors and managers, said they needed increased and improved training on disability related issues Finally, the research, it has been suggested that changing employer attitudes and increasing awareness would be key aspects of improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities So we have the research telling us that employers and supervisors as well as people with disabilities are seeking understanding, they are seeking improved knowledge about disability I’d also like to point out that the timing may be right for these efforts We have recently seen federal legislation put out in increased focus on employer engagement

and hiring people with disabilities, and for rehabilitation counselors and rehabilitation service providers to be more engaged with those employers in that effort The first I would mention is updates made to section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act In these updates, the affirmative action in place was strengthened, such that federal contractors and subcontractors are required to provide written assessment of recruitment and outreach efforts to hire and retain people with disabilities This requires an aspirational 7 percent utilization goal for qualified employees with disabilities What we hope and expect from this legislation is a greater employer motivation towards hiring people with disabilities, and when it falls short of the utilization goal, that they would be more reflective on their recruiting and maintenance practices of those who have disabilities Another legislation, we have the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Again, just recently this was put in place In this legislation, among many other things, we see an increased focus on demand side employment by expanding the services of public VR agencies, in what they provide to employers So it can be seen here in this slide, section 109 states, training, VR agencies can expend payments to provide training and technical assistance, to employers, regarding the employment of individuals with disabilities, including disability awareness and the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as well as other employment related laws So right in the WIOA Act we see a invitation for VR counselors to engage employers with disability awareness training I just pause to state that that further moves us in this direction, the employers are asking for, to be able to provide the information and the understanding that employers are asking for in relation to employing people with disability I’ll pause just a moment, as a segue to the next slide, to mention disability awareness is often discussed in our culture as a synonym of diversity training But are they the same? As I move into the coming slides about the definition of diversity, I’d like to point out that awareness may not have the same positive meaning, or understanding that diversity brings So we would argue as we do in this project that we should focus on diversity more than awareness To get to that point, disability as a form of diversity, begs the question of whether disability is included and to what extent The term, diversity, is typically used to reflect groups whose differences are celebrated, and perceived as having the capacity to enrich an organization Really from the outset of using the term diversity, in our labor market conversations, it’s been used positively, as something that would enrich or help a business rather than something that was a moral obligation or something that might pull down a business Again, based on that previous conversation I just had, awareness doesn’t carry that same positive valence, that same idea that by definition the term is positive And that is one of the advantages of speaking of these trainings as diversity trainings, rather than awareness trainings, when referencing disability So diversity is commonly included, consideration of categories like gender, race, ethnicity, and more recently sexual orientation Disability is too often neglected as a form of diversity In order to illustrate this, Ball and colleagues in 2005 looked at Fortune 500 companies looking at the top 100 companies who made their diversity statements public What they found was that only 42 percent of companies in these fortune 100 included disability as an aspect of their diversity policy This reflects what we find more broadly, and that is that oftentimes employers fail to

recognize disability as part of the diversity that might be celebrated and enriching for their companies But why the neglect? It is a important question we need to ask What we found in the research is that the disability is often viewed not as diversity but rather as deviance And of course, based on that earlier definition of diversity, we can see that deviance really is a word that conflicts with diversity So, employers hoping to minimize risk appear to have more difficulty viewing disability as a form of diversity when they see it as a problem to be corrected Stensrud did work in 2007 where they conducted focus groups with employers and found a general theme where participants and I’ll quote from the article, view disability as a problem to be accommodated rather than a difference to be celebrated It seems very likely that these views of disability held by some employers would cause great difficulty, and encouraging employers to view disability as that form of diversity that can enrich What we do know though is that employers who do make this switch, this view of a more accurate understanding of disability as diversity, in other words, as something that could enrich their workforce, that it influences their recruitment and hiring practices, and improves the likelihood of have people with disabilities in their companies Greater knowledge about disability in the form of diversity has been associated with more positive perceptions, in employer behavior, as well as increased hiring and improved work environments for people with disabilities So now that we have laid a little of that groundwork about what we mean when we talk about diversity, and some of the challenges in including disability in notions of diversity, it’s time to talk about the literature review that we accomplished where we asked the question of what has been tried and what works in diversity training Because there’s been little empirical effort, comparatively little in disability diversity training, we started with a more general coverage of the literature, looking at diversity training that has been conducted with other populations as we mentioned on topic of gender, race ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and otherwise, to find a lot of our effective practices research What we found first of all in workplace diversity training is that it’s a intervention intended to improve intergroup relations and reduce prejudice in the workplace So our goal of diversity training is to essentially unleash or to utilize what might be those expected strengths that would come from diversity and allow them to flourish in a company organization Diversity training programs typically are designed to improve knowledge, attitudes, behaviors or motivation to interact effectively with diverse others And a typical diversity training program as found by Bendic and colleagues involves one or two trainers, about 20 to 30 trainees who are receiving these services, and training that lasts anywhere from about four to ten hours Now, this is the typical We of course found many exceptions, and a much more varied approach to diversity training, but this is traditionally what we will see Regarding current state of diversity training in the workplace, Kulik and colleagues in 2008 found that about 57 percent of organizations will report some use of diversity training Again that speaks back to the idea that diversity training is a widely practiced activity in the workplace and labor markets It’s widely accepted as something of a norm in our labor market for producing good results and improving performance and of course, helping diversity Businesses are increasingly focused on building a diverse workforce for several reasons, including the opportunity to expand the talent pool, for reasons of being socially responsible, to provide employees who are better able to meet the needs of a diverse customer base, to create a competitive advantage by expanding the experiences and opinions used to inform innovation and decision-making As an aside, on a related project with Virginia Commonwealth University, I recently was on

a team where we looked closely at a private instructional technology firm in Chicago called SPR Companies, where we looked at their disability practices We chose this company because they have been very focused from the top all the way to the bottom of their organization on including people with disabilities in their workplace We went in with a qualitative approach to understand better their motives for not only their diversity training but also for their diverse practices in recruitment, hiring and maintenance We found exactly what you see on this slide Their motives were varied, and they often worked together We learned from FPR Companies, this company in Chicago, that one of their great interests was a business advantage in IT, but it was also along with that primary goal, they had goals of being socially responsible, of providing better services for those customers they serve, and for that expanded talent pool which hopefully resulted in a business advantage for them Continuing with the current state, I want to emphasize one of the great efforts in diversity training is on this business case or making a business case, so the competitive advantage that comes with including diversity, including better organizational flexibility, enhanced marketing efforts, greater innovation, this is one of the great pushes of including diversity in our labor market Now the components of diversity training As mentioned previously, diversity training is a very, there is lots of variance in how it’s provided and practiced For instance, diversity training may be a single session, or multiple sessions over time We found the research that many include trainers within the organization, while others brought in someone from outside the organization to provide the training Many focused on specific groups while others did a more general application For example, we saw some trainings that were explicitly focused on sexual orientation or gender, where other trainings talked about differences in a more broad umbrella term, and tried to bring understanding in a general way We also saw many different pedagogies when you look through the literature Some were lecture-based Others had video materials, simulations, problem solving exercises, role playing, discussion, case studies, and of course many provided something of a mix of all of these One other point of variance that we saw interestingly in the labor market was that some are voluntary, meaning that all employees or supervisors or managers who wanted to go were who ended up being in attendance, while in many organizations, they were made mandatory, so people attended without consideration of whether it was self-selection or not Common goals for workplace diversity training, include creating a more successful organization, with better performing employees This is usually noted as the primary goal Others include changing employee behavior towards socially disadvantaged group members, increased compliance with legal and ethical standards, and finally greater harmony within the workforce We often see a split in what the primary goals are in diversity training across whether it’s awareness training or skill building In other words, whether we are looking to improve knowledge or skills Many did both, while some just focused on one In awareness training, we saw an increased focus on just understanding the issues that might arise from differences It could include discussion, sharing personal experience, and education When we looked at awareness training, we often saw something that was about having a conversation, getting into a dialogue, and coming to see each other’s perspective better In skill building, or these behavior based trainings, we may still see what we saw in awareness but we will see a emphasis on improving or changing behavior What we will often see is that focus on improved communication, in increasing the likelihood

of engaging with others who are different from the core inner organization as well as improving interpersonal skills or styles as employees engage others from diverse backgrounds The assessment of diversity training outcomes follows suit You will see assessment of outcomes include assessment of knowledge, or cognitive outcomes, these are measured usually by measuring knowledge and learning of diversity training content So often what we see is a pre, post test of how much they knew about the content being covered in the diversity training prior to training, and then whether their knowledge is improved afterwards The second form of assessment is that of affective outcomes So whether attitudes have been changed and not just knowledge So whether there is a greater diversity self-efficacy has been tested or even a greater motivation to embrace diversity in some way in the organization This is the most commonly measured outcome that we saw in the research, were these effective assessments Finally, perhaps the least common was the assessment of behavioral outcomes Measuring changes in behavior, including the ability to resolve conflicts, self-perception, diversity-friendly behaviors, objective observations of changing behaviors, or changed behaviors in the workplace Again, these, although powerful in many ways, we could argue are slightly less common in the research When we look for best practices, we found that they could be categorized into three primary domains This framework is largely pulled from Kalinoski’s analysis conducted in 2013 But these effective practices are broken down by design, duration, distribution and method of delivery, the content taught including the number of topics covered, the level of participation, interaction and the goal setting or mentoring that might be included, and then the third component is the participants, so whether upper level management was involved, and even the composition and characteristics of the group being taught, as well as whether the program was voluntary or mandatory First regarding design, what was found in the research is that to be most effective a diversity training program would need to fit somewhere in the four to six-hour range for training It was also found that anything beyond eight hours tended to experience some diminishing returns in the outcomes That is not to say that all training beyond eight hours was without any efficacy, but that diminishing returns could decide future practice in further diversity training We saw something interesting in the distribution of training It was more effective when spread out across multiple sessions versus just one longer session I think this makes intuitive sense With something as emotional and challenging view which is changing attitudes towards diversity, it would make sense that having breaks to allow self-reflection, maybe even implementation of content and then to come back to training, would have an effective outcome for practice Then we saw that methods of delivery was stronger when it was provided in person, versus being computer-based This last point, I would just acknowledge is one that has been less, how do I say, it’s less solid of a result than some of the others, largely because there aren’t as many computer-based trainings that we have seen out there in the literature So there is a possibility that what we are actually seeing here in the difference between in-person training versus computer-based training, might come down to what we will talk about next with content, in that computer-based training in the past have by nature been less interactive, more top down passively provided than the in-person training provided So, we do have some signs in some of the recent literature that computer-based training may be an adequate service delivery method when it involves more of that interactive approach So a great segue into content, because what we found is that focusing on a single aspects of diversity equals a larger effect on cognitive outcomes than focusing on more diversity in a more umbrella term Also, getting to the point of computer-based training, level of participation and level

of interaction was a major influence in how effective training was Essentially the more passive, top/down lecture-based training becomes, the less it seemed to show a difference in effect on knowledge or on effective attitudes, or on behaviors Increased task interdependence also, so the need to work with others in a training, and active learning, resulted in a larger effect on cognitive outcomes, and then a mixture of task interdependence, active and passive learning methods, equaled a larger effect on effective outcomes Essentially, the take-home from what we found in the effective practices was that variety is good, and the interaction is essential It is important in providing diversity training that people have an opportunity to engage the content in meaningful ways, which suggests that case studies, simulations, group discussions, role playing, can all be critical aspects in addition to the lecture-based content where you dispel knowledge, or where you provide knowledge I mean to say, in ultimately changing attitudes, knowledge and behavior towards diverse groups in the workplace Finally, related to content, we found that goal setting and mentoring could have a positive effect It was found in research by Madera, King and Hebl in 2013 that diversity training was much more effective when it concluded with an immediate effort to set a goal as how they might change their behaviors in that workplace, in that environment, and even more effective when those goals were overseen with facilitators supported, better said, by a mentor in the agency, in the organization, who could help along the way, provide encouragement and, perhaps most importantly, provide follow-up and accountability for a goal that was developed initially by the person in the training We also found composition to have an effect on the effectiveness of diversity training What was found by Kalinoski et al. 2013 is that when diversity training groups are comprised of more than 50 percent women or comprised of less than 40 percent Caucasian, there is a greater cognitive effect It is too soon to tell why we see these differences One of the potential reasons is simply that when you have more diverse groups in a training, that understand better the needs for diversity training, you will have a more positive outcome But we need to do continued research looking further into this question, as to how composition affects diversity training outcomes Now more specific focus on disability diversity training, what do we know from the research about what is available, what is out there, and whether it’s effective? For this step in the process, we took a little more systematic scoping approach to look at the research exclusively in rehabilitation counseling We conducted the literature review within the five primary rehabilitation counseling journals for 1990 to 2014, in the case of some of the journals it was shorter than that because the journals weren’t in existence in 1990, but they include Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, Rehabilitation Psychology and Rehabilitation Research Policy and Education, formerly known as Rehabilitation Education, and Journal of Rehabilitation The results of this review using ten terms related to diversity training, where there is very few empirical investigations of disability diversity training That said, there were numerous scholars who highlighted the utility of such trainings for improving employer attitudes, increasing employer awareness and for promoting disability as an aspect of diversity Despite what we saw as a pretty thin empirical evidence, we saw lots of individuals, researchers and manuscripts advocating for increased use of diversity training explicitly for people with disabilities in the workplace What we put together in these considerations of articles who suggested the use of empirical training first, were several content areas that needed to be highlighted

These include probably first and foremost, the need to highlight and dispel disability myths These might include that people with disabilities are less qualified, concerns that companies will be forced to keep employees even if they cannot maintain performance standards or for that matter the need to hire employees who are not qualified to do the explicit job in mention, and also concerns about increased medical and legal costs We have in the rehabilitation research lots of literature that can help dispel these myths, but of course, information alone typically is insufficient to change attitudes So it’s the dialogue, it’s the conversation, in a trusting relationship, that would be useful in the content for the disability diversity training Other content areas include disability legislation including the ADA, not just a conversation about what the legislation states, but how it might be implemented or provided in the specific employer agencies that you are interacting with Also assistive technology and accommodations, employers even who have a motive of including people with disabilities may not have the same familiarity with accommodations and assistive technology Also disability etiquette in communication One of the great steps to recognizing disability as enriching the workplace is to understand basics about communication Hopefully, that could minimize any anxieties or hesitation about initially interacting with a group that employers may not be as familiar or aware of Benefits of disability in the workplace need to be covered including climate and business advantage This is perhaps one of the most important focuses we can have in our diversity trainings, is to make light of what some employers already recognize which is the great business advantage in recruiting and maintaining employees and in serving many customer bases, of including people with disabilities on their teams And then one of the important content areas finally is to include people with disabilities in leadership roles That as we talk about content, we don’t need to always and shouldn’t always frame people with disabilities as serving in a secondary labor market or a less stable labor market, but rather viewing them as potential CEOs, upper level manager, just as we would any other person entering or group entering the workforce All right So with those considerations of content being suggested, we are prepared to go in and look at what disability diversity trainings are out there Again, certainly not exhaustive of what disability diversity trainings are being conducted here in 2015 in the labor market, but these are the ones we found in the literature review, and in our search across the Internet First we found Discovering Untapped Talent What you can see here in our table, is some consideration of some of the basic effective practices So here in Discovering Untapped Talent, you see that they do provide a live trainer and they also do some on-line education That is why you see yes and no in the slide The length of training is greater than four hours, certainly It takes a very active learning approach It is in a work setting, explicitly with a work focus, and there’s been no cost to this point with those efforts to utilize the training So, next we found Tilting at Windmills, one of the longest running disability diversity trainings, also very work specific as you see, live trainer and greater than four hours Work support, diversity training program that was created right here at Virginia Commonwealth University, that is provided entirely on-line, but does have many interactive components, which as I mentioned back previously with on-line training, although they haven’t been found as effective as in-person training, the verdict is still out there on whether they can be effective when they entail the interactive components that are included this work supports Then we have finally workforce discovery Again, live trainer, length between four to eight hours, and also focused on a work setting as well as the other three are as well So, I’d like to talk through each one of these trainings, and help the audience to be more

familiar with them, as either a starting point for developing their own or perhaps as an opportunity to reach out to one of these creators of these diversity trainings for use in their own setting or situation First, Discovering Untapped Talent This goes first not just for medical reasons, but also because it’s the only empirically tested training we found in the literature, and although it has only been tested in one research study, it was a very exhaustive and informative approach for testing this model We will spend some time with what they found in the results It is specifically related to employment for people with disabilities and as mentioned it takes as a blending, it takes a blended learning approach, where the on-line material is meant to aid the live material in helping change individuals’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors There is eight in-person modules that are taken first in this training program, and then ten on-line sections that follow It has a great focus on conversation, dialogue, the business advantage, and on future, near future actions that can be taken to improve the diversity climate in the particular workplace Then finally, one interesting aspect of Discovering Untapped Talent, is because it was created in connection with an ADA center, it connects the employer or the trainee, it could be a employee, to the ADA center for future support and follow-up, once they have completed the training The evidence for Discovering Untapped Talent, again although only contained in one study, was a broad study, covering twelve sessions, as many as 400-plus employers and employees that were included in these trainings, over a three-year period And in the quantitative results, positive change was found in pre, post assessments for knowledge, for changes in attitudes, towards disability and diversity in the workplace, towards behavioral intention, which was defined as the likelihood of changing someone’s own behaviors in the workplace, and then behavioral estimation, which was defined as changing workplace policies, practices, outside of themselves in the organization So it’s an optimistic result to see that across these four different domains, Discovering Untapped Talent showed significant improvement for those who took the training Now, beyond the quantitative assessment, this research was conducted in 2013, about qualitative analysis to determine whether individuals took action in relation to the diversity training, and as can be seen, 79 percent of the 34 respondents who received the qualitative assessment had taken action in support of disability diversity at four to eight months follow-up I would encourage any who would like to look further than that to read Rudstam’s article where they find specifics of the types of change people implemented The changes varied from policy and administrative changes in recruitment, hiring or maintenance, but it also sometimes included changes in how they approached others with, from diverse backgrounds Those who didn’t take action were informative They found indecision on what action to take, lack of power to make organizational change they wanted to make, or the desired action was already in place, therefore, they couldn’t act on their plans So we get a better sense not only that diversity training had an impact immediately from a empirical standpoint, but that it had real meaningful impact on people’s behaviors and actions within this four to eight-month follow-up from their training Now Discovering Untapped Talent in this research that I’m referring to looked as things that facilitated disability diversity in the workplace in this qualitative study, and so what they found in these qualitative results were that training was best when it was industry specific So, instead of providing training that would be used across labor market generally, some employers and employees asked for trainings that could be targeted exclusively at them

and their occupation area or discipline For example, we have heard the benefits in some of the other work I’ve been doing of being able to provide diversity training explicitly for IT groups And some of the uniqueness relating to disability, some of the opportunities and advantages as well as some of the unique barriers that might need to be considered in the IT industry explicitly So, that is an interesting point of importance for facilitating diversity training A prior commitment to disability as diversity is common sensically supportive of disability diversity So essentially if someone comes in with an interest and a desire to do diversity training, they benefited more from the Discovering Untapped Talent program And finally, organizational readiness, much like individual readiness or commitment was highlighted as important for getting the most out of Discovering Untapped Talent Now, I could say this is common sensical It also has implications for who we might seek out to provide disability diversity training to or with Rather than focus on simply the largest company, our goals might be more effective if we also considered, taking into consideration those companies who are most open to diversity, including disability in the workplace We know that there are many employers out there who are affected by disability, either because they have a disability, or they have a family member or friend with a disability, and this is becoming more and more common There seems to be a great opportunity to, based on these results, seek out employers who are these low-hanging fruit, those most likely to be able to implement or willing to implement the training provided in a disability diversity training program In contrast, they asked about barriers to disability diversity in the labor market These included economic climate, showed some of the trainings provided during Discovering Untapped Talent happened during the great recession Many employers talked about being in survival mode In that survival mode, diversity often took a back seat It is important for the rehabilitation counselor or other employment service provider to acknowledge the context the employer is working in, and with that appreciation, that will shape how we approach employers as we try to engage them in understanding disability as diversity, or taking that next step at how they might implement it better in their organization They noticed a challenge getting to decision-makers Again, really in harmony with what we talked about with effective practices earlier, if it is not coming from the top down it is likely to have a lesser effect We found in this program, sometimes who is sent to the diversity trainings weren’t always the ones who could have the influence on the organization, greatest influence on the organization Seems there is a challenge getting to upper level management and employers But there is also a mention for need of ongoing support Even beyond that connection to the ADA center services, that were mentioned earlier, employers and employees stated they needed ongoing consultation or an ongoing discussion or dialogue with someone in the know, some expert on disability diversity, as they faced these challenges or opportunities in their day-to-day coming and goings in the workplace The next program that we found was called Tilting at Windmills This is a longest running program found, started around 1980 in California It continues to this day to be offered as an external diversity training What I mean by that is they bring in what is a well-known name, Richard Penn, and tell where others who are familiar with this training program to provide this service There is 11 modules in this training with flexibility to complete all in a day or over several days, depending on the need of a organization It’s highly interactive, with sharing of experiences, games and activities, and group and panel discussions And again, we noted an effective practices, this is a important point, this amount of interaction That is contained in many of the trainings we talk about It’s instructor-led as mentioned before Although we don’t have the empirical analysis provided for discovering untapped talent, Brostrand in 2006 showed employers found the training beneficial and valuable in satisfaction

ratings after the training Although we don’t know a lot about whether it changed knowledge or attitudes, we do know that employers and employees received the Tilting at Windmills training with satisfaction and would recommend it to others Next we have the Disability Awareness on-line program provided through Virginia Commonwealth University This is self-administered, completely, and computer-based There are eight sections that cover common disability myths, ADA and accommodations, and proper social etiquette among other things It provides a review of empirical support for the work contributions of people with disabilities Like other programs, it does emphasize that business advantage and opportunity that would come from employers including disability as diversity It provides opportunities to share perspectives, experiences, and allows for some feedback in that process, so despite being on-line, it may make up for some of the difficulties of not having a live trainer by having an interactive component to that training It allows for feedback from these on-line facilitators, with this very effort of helping to create more reflection, more engagement in the program as people go through Finally we have Workforce Discovery provided by Transcen, Inc This is specifically related to employment for people with disabilities, again It is instructor-led There is four training modules These include typecasting or understanding disability, legal implications of hiring people with disabilities and overview of the ADA is included It covers reasonable accommodation, as well asset kit, communication and interacting with people with disabilities There is a fifth module that can be quite helpful which is Best Practices for Trainers So there is an intention in the workforce discovery program of having this be something that people can pick up, learn best practices for trainers and then conduct in the setting, in the environment and with the trainer that best fits their organizational needs Again, note that the latter three have at this point no empirical evidence we could find for their efficacy That said, what we have seen anecdotally is satisfaction and enjoyment and appreciation for these programs So, I conclude with talking about future directions and next steps There is a need for continued testing of existing disability diversity training programs, for improving attitudes, behaviors and outcomes So obviously, with the disparity, the great disparity we see in employment, we would hope to see or assess whether a disability diversity trainings could even have an influence on whether we see increased employment, whether we see increased retention, increased job satisfaction, for people with disabilities in the workplace, and other long-term outcomes that show real change in addition to attitude improvements and motivations that are typically measured There is an opportunity to integrate best practices from the general diversity training into disability diversity training programs Of course there is going to need to be, this is going to need to be done with caution It’s impossible to say now whether the effective practices found in the general, excuse me, in the general diversity training literature all can come across to disability diversity training and have the same positive effect For instance, with composition of a training session, we just don’t know yet whether having 50 percent of the trainees being women and whether having 40 percent or less being Caucasian would have the same influence on outcomes for disability specific diversity training that has been shown to have for general diversity training Furthermore we don’t know whether other compositional factors might play in the outcomes It does put on the radar that perhaps the composition of those who have disabilities in that training may have some influence on the outcomes But of course, again, it goes back to the first point There is a need for more testing and more understanding on this point There is an opportunity for greater consideration of VR counselors’ role in employer disability initiatives, including diversity training What we have seen from the general practices that are effective is that it’s likely going to be less effective on several fronts for the VR counselor to interject themselves as

the sole external diversity trainer when they go into an organization From what we see in the literature, it’s likely going to be much more effective to have the VR counselors engaging upper level management and employers in both small and large companies to try to sell to them what is this accurate understanding of disability, the business advantages, and then hopefully drive that message to the point where upper level management and employers want to own that message as they present it to an organization That is what we have found from the general research, but there is lots of opportunity certainly especially with the implementation of WIOA to give empirical consideration of how engaging employers, how providing these services and how we are using these tools and what that means for effective outcomes Key points, from our efforts in this project, are there is a great need and an opportunity for addressing negative employer attitudes, behaviors and policies regarding disability in the coming years And to do so, through disability diversity training, with the notion that this training is an emphasis on disability is something to be celebrated as a group, and a group that can enrich and strengthen the workplace And people with disabilities are likely to benefit in the workplace from employers embracing disability as a form of diversity, one that can enrich and facilitate performance Also disabilities diversity training appears to be underutilized at this point At least from what we see in the research, again acknowledging that there is much more training going on than what the research suggests However, without capturing effectiveness and understanding of what is being provided, it’s hard for us to say with confidence that we know that those training efforts that are being provided all across the nation are having their intended effect, or what aspects of the training are so effective and what might be tweaked to improve those overall outcomes And the current state of knowledge provides a nice foundation for assessing and creating effective practices going forward So as a conclusion of the presentation, I appreciate you listening in, and hopefully benefiting from our conversations about disability diversity training, and I would state I have great confidence going forward with the great work that is being conducted and some of the recent research that we have seen, that our efforts to increase disability diversity training and even just the considerations of disability, diversity as including disability, can have an improved outcome, a better outcome for people with disabilities who want to work in the workforce and have so much to contribute Thank you