Kessler Recent College Graduates Employment Survey

Nearly 30 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities in education and employment. Individuals with disabilities now comprise about 12% of college students, which matters because educational attainment is associated with gainful employment. Although the employment gap between people with and without disabilities persists, employment prospects are favorable for people with disabilities who have college degrees. Yet, research is lacking about the ways college graduates with disabilities successfully navigate barriers – and, nearly 30 years after the ADA, emerging opportunities - to find work.

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The 2020 Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey: Recent College Graduates (KFNEDS:RCG) will address this gap in knowledge by researching several key questions. For example, what supports and services were most helpful to recent graduates, both at college and after graduation, during the job search? What kinds of jobs did they find? How did they decide whether or when to disclose their disabilities to employers? What were employers’ attitudes toward them?

Findings from this research will support the development of interventions and tools to improve employment outcomes and increase the degree to which college pays off for people with disabilities. Specifically, this work may be used to inform future interventions, policies, and practices on college campuses and in the employment sector to improve employment outcomes for graduates with disabilities. People with disabilities stand to learn from the recent experiences of graduates with disabilities who have entered the workforce. This research will also help college career counselors and vocational rehabilitation professionals act in ways that help to avoid barriers and facilitate successful transitions to work.


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