New England ADA Center Published Research

We had the good fortune of collaborating on research activities with the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University and the Center for Labor Market Policies at Drexel University during 2006-2011. The following publications are the results of our cooperative research efforts.

Title: The Impact of the Great Recession on the Unemployment of Americans with Disabilities


Recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics allows assessment of the impact of the Great Recession on working age persons with disabilities in America. Following an overview of the nature and scope of the Great Recession, the labor market experiences of persons with and without disabilities are compared for 16 of the 22 months of its duration. Differences which favor those without disabilities were detected in the labor market rate, the official unemployment rate, and in the desire for work among those who have quit the workforce. These differences persisted among subgroups based upon age and educational attainment. Finally, the reasons for unemployment are quite different for persons with and without disabilities.

Link to Publication:


Title: From Paternalism to Self-Advocacy: President Obama’s Community College Strategy and Students with Disabilities


President Obama recently asked community colleges across the nation to take on a central role in his economic policy by awarding 5 million new associate degrees over the next decade. Those familiar with community college data know this is a daunting task for the nation’s public two-year college system. America’s community colleges collectively award fewer than 800,000 associate degrees per year, so an increase of 5 million over the decade implies that the system will have to increase degree awards at a rate of 60% per year to meet the president’s goal. In order to meet the challenge, the nation’s community colleges will have to shift their focus from access to retention and ultimately graduation. Success at retention means understanding the diverse nature and needs of the entering freshman cohort at different institutions and organizing programs of study and services designed to bolster degree completion among entering students. It means ending the old organizational ethos of “look to your right, look to your left, one of you will be gone in a year.” It means developing an organizational culture and business strategy tied to the objective of retaining students to graduation. Our recent research has found that community colleges appear to enroll disproportionately large shares of students with disabilities. To meet the president’s challenge of increasing the number of associate degree awards, new organizational designs, programs and incentives are needed to increase retention and graduation of students with disabilities.


From Paternalism to Self Advocacy (Word)