Student researchers practicing their presentation.

In the 2023 Spring Semester, we (select students of Trinity and Capital Community College) came together to work with the Liberal Arts Action Lab on the Disability Employment project in conjunction with Harc Inc. 

Our Community Partner

Our Community Partner, Harc, is a nonprofit that provides a variety of support services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including assisting them in their search and maintaining employment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of employers partnered with them was cut by two-thirds, and many of their clients were suddenly out of work as jobs went online. They approached us with the broader questions of “what the barriers are when it comes to hiring an individual with a disability” and “in what ways these barriers can be overcome”. Based on these overarching questions, we defined multiple objectives that our research would achieve

    • Lift the voices of job seekers with I/DD and promote them as equally viable job candidates

    • Inform businesses about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities

    • Spread the word about Harc’s services in this sector

Harc takes an individual-centered approach, customizing its services to each client’s needs and goals. More about Harc’s supported employment initiative can be found below.

Our Role

As a group, we have been exploring ways to best support people with disabilities in their search for employment in the Greater Hartford area. We have been researching the incentives that employers may have for hiring individuals with disabilities, as well as the reasons why some employers may not prioritize diversity in this area. By understanding these challenges, we can work to support Harc Inc. through our research. We looked to identify strategies that can help improve access to meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the area. As a result of our research on “disability inclusive employment” literature and our dialog with Harc, we decided to take an individual-centered approach. We shifted our focus to individuals with disabilities themselves and aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of their experiences and perspectives regarding the role of employment in their life. Our findings have the potential to contribute to the efforts of Harc and other organizations working to support individuals with disabilities and promote diversity in the workplace.

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