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Employer Initiatives in the Employment or Re-Employment of People with Disabilities: Views from Abroad.

Employer Initiatives in the Employment or Re-Employment of People with Disabilities: Views from Abroad. Woods, Diane E., and Akabas, Sheila, H. (Editors). (1985). Employer Initiatives in the Employment or Re-Employment of People with Disabilities: Views from Abroad. New York: World Rehabilitation Fund, Inc., pp. 126. $4.00 (paper).

This review is the first of three covering the monographs of the "International Exchange of Experts and Information in Rehabilitation" (IEEIR) project. The project is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and administered by the World Rehabilitation Fund (WRF). WRF has published 37 monographs and given 109 fellowships which have allowed U.S. experts the opportunity to study rehabilitation issues and programs in other countries. Further, the WRF sponsors conferences and seminars in the U.S. on the subjects covered by the monographs. Truly, the WRF represents a major source of data on the world's rehabilitation efforts.

The first monograph is a collection of eight papers presented at a conference in Chicago in April, 1985, on the changing nature of work, society, and disability. Paul Cornes argues that vocational rehabilitation has been principally client-centered and that it has not focused much on wider policy issues. Further, he contends that structural changes in the world of work now demand that governmental and practicing professionals turn their attentions and efforts to the study of over-riding policies which govern service delivery, e.g., right to income vs. right to work. The increase in the need for policy analysis is debated by other authors and their combined efforts provide a complete discussion of one of the critical issues facing vocational rehabilitation today.

The second monograph on social security and disability programs looks at policy and programs of eight different countries. The conclusion is that few nations have "comprehensive, integrated rehabilitation systems" which achieve both rehabilitation and return to work for their participants. It is the lack of this combination which poses a challenge to international disability policy. There is an excellent discussion on the role and place of rehabilitation in disability programs as a way to reduce expenditures and improve overall welfare. It draws useful comparisons among the various systems studied, as well as presenting "lessons to be learned."

The third monograph on employer intiatives in the employment of people with disabilities is especially interesting. The paper examines a variety of programs which are based on the concept that maintaining people with disabilities on their job is within the employer's self-interest. Twelve programs from a variety of countries are presented. The final section discusses disability policy comparisons between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The benefit to rehabilitationists in reading and studying these materials is in the depth they then provide to rehabilitation knowledge. By reviewing other countries' concerns, trends, and solutions to problems, one is able to gain insight to the quality of our efforts to aid people with disabilities and to use a broader base of data in the design of systems which serve these people.
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Author:Kontosh, Larry G.
Publication:The Journal of Rehabilitation
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1989
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