FR Doc 05-6748
[Federal Register: April 6, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 65)]
[Page 17426-17427]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

[[Page 17426]]
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National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priority.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority for the National Institute 
on Disability and Rehabilitation Research's (NIDRR) Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP). This priority may be used for 
competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2005 and later years. We take this 
action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend 
this priority to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before May 6, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this proposed priority to Donna 
Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 
6030, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20204-2700. If you prefer to 
send your comments through the Internet, use the following address:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 245-
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 


Invitation to Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding this proposed priority.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from this proposed 
priority. Please let us know of any further opportunities we should 
take to reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while 
preserving the effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this proposed priority in room 6030, 550 12th Street, 
SW., Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 
a.m. and 4 p.m., eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week 
except Federal holidays.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for this proposed priority. If you want to schedule 
an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person listed 
    We will announce the final priority in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priority after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing or funding 
additional priorities, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking 

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this proposed priority, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting 
applications we designate the priority as absolute, competitive 
preference, or invitational. The effect of each type of priority 

    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by either 
(1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent 
to which the application meets the competitive priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive priority over an application of comparable merit that 
does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over 
other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

    Note: NIDRR supports the goals of President Bush's New Freedom 
Initiative (NFI). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the 
following site:

    The proposed priority is in concert with NIDRR's Long-Range Plan 
(Plan). The Plan is comprehensive and integrates many issues relating 
to disability and rehabilitation research topics. While applicants will 
find many sections throughout the Plan that support potential research 
to be conducted under the proposed priority, the specific reference is 
in Chapter 3, Employment Outcomes. The Plan can be accessed on the 
Internet at the following site:

    Through the implementation of the NFI and the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: 
(1) Improve the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation 
research; (2) foster an exchange of expertise, information, and 
training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding 
of the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) 
determine best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation 
outcomes for underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) 
identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) 
disseminate findings.

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program

    The purpose of the DRRP Program is to plan and conduct research, 
demonstration projects, training, and related activities that help to 
maximize the full inclusion and integration of individuals with 
disabilities into society and to improve the effectiveness of services 
authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act). 
An applicant for assistance under this program must demonstrate in its 
application how it will address, in whole or in part, the needs of 
individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 
350.40(a)). The approaches an applicant may take to meet this 
requirement are found in 34 CFR 350.40(b). Additional information on 
the DRRP program can be found at:



    Despite past attempts to reduce unemployment rates for individuals 
with disabilities, these individuals continue to be employed at much 
lower rates than individuals without disabilities. The 2003 American 
Community Survey (U.S. Bureau of the Census,
), for 

example, found that approximately 37.8 percent of adults age 21 to 64 
with disabilities were employed, compared to approximately 77.5 percent 
of adults with no disability. NIDRR is committed

[[Page 17427]]

to supporting research on employment models and intervention approaches 
that can help reduce this discrepancy.
    Strategic models and approaches for employment and job placement of 
individuals with disabilities fall primarily into two categories: 
Supply-side and demand-side. In supply-side models, individuals are 
matched against an available supply of jobs. In demand-side employment 
models, the focus is on the employer and work environment (i.e., 
occupational shifts and industrial change).
    NIDRR believes that a better understanding about market driven 
workforce trends could improve employment outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities and inform employment activities so that the potential 
workforce applicant pool is better prepared to effectively meet future 
or changing needs and requirements of the job market.
    The supply-side and demand-side models for job placement are among 
the most frequently discussed in the research literature. However, 
there are a limited number of studies that describe the differences 
between the two models. Similarly, the literature that does discuss the 
differences between the two models provides limited insight about 
factors that influence the employment rate for persons with 
disabilities. Additionally, studies identify but provide limited 
understanding about the following critical issues and concerns relating 
to demand-side models: (1) Changing structure of the workforce and the 
impact of downsizing; (2) increasing use of on-call workers, temporary 
help agencies, and independent contractors; (3) rapid advances in 
technology requiring the need for highly educated, highly skilled 
workers; (4) employer perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes regarding the 
employment of individuals with disabilities; (5) employer knowledge and 
use of incentives for hiring individuals with disabilities; (6) the 
effect of labor market demand policies and economic factors on 
employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities; (7) employer-
based hiring practices that influence employment outcomes and employer 
understanding of the implications of employment practices for 
individuals with disabilities; and (8) predictors of return to work and 
workforce participation. This priority seeks to improve our 
understanding of demand-side placement models and strategies and 
employment outcomes from a variety of perspectives.

Proposed Priority

    The Assistant Secretary proposes a priority for one DRRP, which 
must focus its research on demand-side employment placement models. 
Studies conducted under this priority must support rigorous, 
empirically based research designed to develop or identify and evaluate 
demand-side employment placement models, methods, and measures.
    To meet this priority, research activities and studies must 
identify or develop, demonstrate, and evaluate methods, models, and 
measures leading to the following:
    (1) Psychometrically sound measures for determining employer-
focused employment needs;
    (2) Types of employment interventions that effectively address 
employer issues, including methods for increasing employer and business 
entity participation in the development of strategies for improving 
employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities;
    (3) Analysis comparing the effectiveness of the demand-side model 
and the supply-side model and identification of the predictors of 
workforce participation for specific populations of individuals with 
disabilities using both models; and
    (4) Effective measures for evaluating the role of demand-side 
models in relation to employment outcomes, employment data, individual 
and systems level outcomes, and trends across workplace environments 
and employment systems, including measures that involve macroeconomic, 
legislative, or policy issues that potentially influence employment 

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of proposed priority has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with the notice of proposed priority 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this notice of proposed priority, we have 
determined that the benefits of the proposed priority justify the 

Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits

    The potential costs associated with this proposed priority are 
minimal while the benefits are significant. Grantees may anticipate 
costs associated with completing the application process in terms of 
staff time, copying, and mailing or delivery. The use of e-Application 
technology reduces mailing and copying costs significantly.
    The benefits of the DRRP Program have been well established over 
the years in that similar projects have been completed successfully. 
This proposed priority will generate new knowledge through the research 
to be conducted under the proposed priority.
    Another benefit of this proposed priority will be the establishment 
of a new DRRP that supports the President's NFI and will support 
improvements in the lives and potential employment outcomes of persons 
with disabilities.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    Electronic Access to This Document
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    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at:

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.133A, Disability 
Rehabilitation Research Project.)

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).

    Dated: March 31, 2005.
John H. Hager,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 05-6748 Filed 4-5-05; 8:45 am]