According to a recent Society for Human Resource Management survey, large companies are more likely to actively recruit applicants with disabilities than smaller companies. Sixty-one percent of the respondents from large companies indicated that they proactively seek out qualified employees with disabilities as compared to 53 percent of the respondents from medium size companies and 39 percent of the respondents from small companies. Historically, large employers may have had an easier time developing relationships with organizations that have access to qualified candidates with disabilities, making it easier for large companies to hire candidates with disabilities and giving them a distinct advantage in capitalizing on this available and reliable labor pool. Yet, there are a variety of recruitment resources available to all employers. This fact sheet provides some key resources.
U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy Programs
Employment Assistance Referral Network (EARN)
866-EarnNow (866-327-6669) (V)
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy has contracted for a new service: the Employment Assistance Referral Network (EARN), which provides all employers with a direct connection to their local community service providers.
EARN, a national toll-free service, makes it simple for all businesses to locate applicants with disabilities for any type of position. When EARN receives a call from an employer who wants to recruit qualified candidates with disabilities, the EARN staff takes the employer's vacancy information and then communicates with the local employment provider community to locate providers who have contact with appropriate job candidates. Once these providers are identified, EARN calls the employer back. The employer receives the appropriate contact information and may call the designated providers to connect with applicants. Providers do not receive the employer's contact information. This allows the employer to be in control of the process.
EARN also provides employers with technical assistance related to the employment of people with
disabilities, such as tax credits, disability-related laws, lawful job interviewing techniques, recruitment and hiring strategies, ways of dealing with co-worker attitudes, personal assistance services and reasonable accommodations. EARN operates Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST.
EARN is a great place for companies to begin their recruitment efforts. Yet there are many other resources available to assist employers.
Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
724-891-3533 (V); 724-891-0275 (Fax)
The Office of Disability Employment Policy's contracted service, the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), is another excellent resource for locating college students and recent graduates. Through the WRP, employers may request a database of pre-screened college students with disabilities to fill summer or permanent hiring needs. These candidates, from more than 160 colleges and universities, represent a variety of academic majors and range from college freshmen to students in graduate school or law school.
The Office of Disability Employment Policy operates Job Links, which takes prospective job applicants to job listings on the Internet employment pages of businesses and organizations who seek to hire people with disabilities.
Company and College Alliances
Some companies, such as Cisco Systems, forge alliances with colleges or universities. Cisco, based in San Jose, CA, is developing a relationship with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, NY. The company, which makes computer routers that direct traffic to the Internet, sees NTID as a great place to recruit employees with strong skills. If a company has not developed a relationship with a college's disability student services office, it may want to do so. The Association of Higher Education and Disability can point the employer in the right direction.
Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
617-287-3880 (V/TTY); 617-287-3881 (Fax)
AHEAD is a membership organization involved in the development of policy and in the provision of quality support services to serve the needs of persons with disabilities in higher education programs. The organization can provide the name and number of the college and/or university coordinators of services for students with disabilities in your area.
Community Resources-Federally Funded
I-NABIR, The Association of Projects with Industry
To tailor training for specific tasks, an employer may want to work directly with a provider. I-NABIR is an organization of federally-funded programs that provides employment preparation and job placement services for persons with disabilities under the guidance of employers. Contact I-NABIR for the location of Projects with Industry programs in your area.
Goodwill Industries International
Another resource is Goodwill Industries of America, which offers employment, training and placement services for people with disabilities in programs throughout the United States. Contact Goodwill headquarters for the programs in your area.
U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration
The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is a federal agency that oversees programs that help individuals with physical or mental disabilities obtain employment. RSA's major formula grant program provides funds to state vocational rehabilitation agencies who, in turn, provide employment-related services for people with disabilities. State and local vocational rehabilitation agencies are listed under state government agencies in the telephone directory.
Department of Veterans Affairs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs supports a nationwide employment training program for veterans with service-connected disabilities who qualify for vocational rehabilitation. Regional or local offices are listed under federal government agencies in the telephone directory.
State Governors' Committees on Employment of People with Disabilities
The governors' committees provide employment information and referral services within their respective states. Governors' Committees are listed under state government agencies in the telephone directory.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
The Secondary Education and Transitional Services for Youth with Disabilities program assists youth with disabilities in the transition from secondary school to post-secondary environments. Through awards to institutions of higher education, state educational agencies, local educational agencies and other appropriate public and private nonprofit institutions, the program ensures that secondary special education and transitional services result in competitive or supported employment for youth with disabilities. Contact the OSEP for the location of transition programs in your area.
This publication is available in alternate formats.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disabilitiy Employment Policy, July 2001