Virginia Commonwealth University received a grant to fund the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employer Practices for Individuals with Disabilities. The grant was awarded for $4.375 million dollars over 5 years by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR, grant #90RT5041) in the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services. The purpose of the RRTC is to investigate the most successful business practices which companies utilize to hire and retain workers with disabilities.
The grant will fund four studies, the largest and most significant of which will take place in partnership with Bon Secours Virginia Health System, a long term leader in diversity and hiring of persons with disabilities. As part of the grant, VCU will partner with researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The principal investigator is Paul Wehman, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the VCU School of Medicine and in the Department of Counseling and Special Education in the VCU School of Education.
Another VCU research study will be conducted in Richmond and will involve working with up to 75 small, medium and large employers, a number of whom have already committed to participate, such as Conner Brothers Body Shop, Mango Salon and VCU Health.
The grant began Oct. 1, 2016 and will run for five years. The studies' results will be shared nationally and internationally through business trade meetings, journal articles, online trainings, conference presentations and social media.