History & Accomplishments

Founded in 1969 with a grant from the Vocational Rehabilitation Services of the then Department of Health, Education and Welfare as a Regional Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, the history of the Workplace Center reflects the changing nature of the world of work.  We are devoted to creating access to careers for those with life circumstances that often undermine labor force participation, defining the roles of labor and management in resolving social workplace issues, and identifying the intersect of social welfare and the workplace in the interest of improving service delivery and building inclusive workplaces.

We are focused on vulnerable populations, particularly young people living in poverty, aging out of foster care,  or court-involved, and their needs related to career readiness and employment with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Google, the Warner Fundthe Conrad N. Hilton FoundationNYC Administration for Children’s ServicesNYS Office of Children and Family Servicesthe Administration for Children and Families/ HHSthe Stuart Foundation, the Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation, and the Pinkerton Foundation.

We provide leadership to those interested in the potential for employment of individuals with mental health conditions, and the related issues of disclosure and accommodation.  These initiatives have been funded by the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depressionthe New York Community TrustNew York City Office of Health and Mental HygieneNational Institute of Mental Health, and New York State Office of Mental Health

We are extensively involved in describing the circumstances under which individuals with disabilities, including those with mental health conditions, can be effectively employed, as well as in establishing disability management initiatives in a variety of corporate, union, government, and non-profit settings with funding from the New York Community Trustthe Rehabilitation Services Administrationthe National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the New York Work Exchange, the Langeloth Foundationthe Nathan Kline Institute and National Institute of Mental Health.  

We are instrumental in defining the roles of EAPs and MAPs and analyzing their actions and outcomes with funding from varied sources such as the United States Department of Labor, the New York City Office of Labor Relations, the Weirton Steel Foundation, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority, the National Institute of Drug Addiction and the Rehabilitation Services Administration of HHS.

We examine diversity and gender issues and advise on and implement inclusion policy with funding from the Council of Urban Professionals, Exxon Corporation, Local 589 of the Sheetmetal Workers Union and Allied Building Metal Industries, the New York City Fire Department, the New York City Women’s Bar and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.  In related work, we helped educate unions and businesses on immigration issues under funding from the United States Department of Justice. 

We have focused on family concerns and policy development around the balance of work and family demands with funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Ogilvy Mather Corporation, the Philip Morris Foundation, and the National Institute of Child Health and Development.  

We carried out research to help formulate and implement policy recommendations for issues ranging from health care, service delivery, substance abuse, employment and labor force development, disability management, provision of legal services, and Medicaid funding with support from the Actors Fund, the Dole Foundation, Health Insurance Plan (HIP), Ford Foundation, Corporation for Supported Housing, Cornell University, the Silberman Foundation, the National Institute of Drug Addiction, New York State Office of Mental Health, and the New York City Office of Labor Relations.

We developed systems to respond to crisis and disaster preparedness with special consideration to social work roles with funding from the New York City Office of Health and Mental Hygiene and the National Center for Disaster Preparedness.

We have taken an active role in enhancing social work education to improve the preparation of professionals to respond to the economic needs of the individuals, families, and communities they serve in collaboration with the Council on Social Work Education and with funding from the New York Community Trust and the Kazanjian Economic Foundation.