Disability studies is becoming a hot topic on college campuses. The surge of interest is timely because now federal contractors have to comply with new guidelines for hiring workers with disabilities. The government has set a goal for these workers to make up at least 7% of employees in every job group.
Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations cannot keep up with the demand. Since the program began in 2009, Cornell now offers eight courses that draw more than 300 students. This spring’s roster included classes on disability and employment policies and “intersections of disability identity in the law, workplace and society.” Most of the students have a family member with some type of disability.
The Cornell program also addresses the strategic advantages of employing people with disabilities, such as helping firms appeal to new audiences and markets.
Students write final papers helping corporations figure out how to evaluate the benefits of inclusion and how employers can prepare for the challenges of veterans with disabilities returning to the workplace.