Returning once again to the National Core Indicators Data Brief, NASDDS' report offers a critical framework for beginning to operationalize racial and social equity in the context of workforce services.
The brief points to a "possible framework to analyze the components of public systems that may result in disparities proposed by the World Health Organization to assess gender equality in health care. The components of the WHO framework include four criteria for assessing disparities: Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability, and Quality. The Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) has used these categories—in addition to Utilization—as components of a framework to examine potential causes for racial and ethnic disparities. Tawara Goode, in a video introducing the NCCC Disparities Framework, notes that once a disparity is identified, one can use the criteria to examine the potential reasons for that disparity. Goode describes the five criteria as variations on the following:
• Availability – the array, type and intensity of services and supports being offered, and whether it fits the needs of different races/ethnicities.
• Accessibility – the geographic distribution, hours of service, accommodations, and universal design of services and supports and whether these factors are systematically disenfranchising certain populations.
• Acceptability – the degree to which services reflect a respect for the values, histories, expectations, language, and experiences of a group. The capacity to plan and deliver culturally and linguistically competent services may affect whether services are acceptable to different races/ethnicities.
• Quality – the overall quality of services and supports. Does quality differ depending on to whom a service is being provided? This may alienate racial and ethnic groups.
• Utilization – rates of utilization of services and supports may differ by race/ethnicity. Research would be needed to identify the reasons behind this difference.
The NCCC framework also includes an examination of the nature of policies and level of resources that may contribute to any disparities in any one or more of the criteria. Finally, this framework, when applied to a service system, can be used to assess disparities in the many services and supports that human services participants rely on (e.g., housing, transportation, education, mental health, etc.).
The framework provides public managers and researchers with an analytic approach to seeking answers when their data show differential outcomes. Applying the framework should lead to a more systematic approach and, as Professor Goode suggests, the process should include the people who receive supports and services from this system or with lived experience. This in-depth exploration, however, will not be possible unless state datasets include robust information on race, ethnicity, and languages spoken in information systems across multiple agencies."
As such, this Brief and this framework is worth consideration as an example of beginning to implement a social and racial equity agenda into disability employment work.