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Building a Disability-Inclusive Talent Pipeline: Ideas for Effective Outreach and Recruitment Strategies

Competence and flexibility...they are vital skills that employers seek. Today more than ever, businesses need people with the ability to adapt to different situations and circumstances, and perhaps more than any other group, people with disabilities possess precisely these attributes. But while many employers recognize the value of a disability-inclusive workforce, not all may know how to effectively recruit and hire qualified people with disabilities. Moreover, for federal contractors, important updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act that took effect in 2014 have created an additional motivation to build a disability-inclusive talent pipeline.

In this spirit, this online dialogue, hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and its Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN), will gather insight into successful strategies federal contractors are using to recruit and hire people with disabilities. Information gleaned will in turn be used to develop technical assistance materials to help more covered employers ensure their doors are open to all qualified individuals. Specific topics we’re interested in hearing about include sources for recruiting qualified individuals with disabilities and strategies for encouraging self-identification, as well as bottlenecks companies have encountered and how they’ve overcome them.

As you submit your ideas or comment and vote on ideas submitted by others below, please keep the following guiding questions in mind:

  1. What creative strategies do you think companies can use to source qualified candidates with disabilities?
  2. What are the biggest challenges, whether internal or external in nature, that companies face when trying to recruit and hire qualified people with disabilities?

We look forward to your contributions and thank you in advance for joining us in this important effort.

For further instructions on how to participate in this online dialogue, visit How to Get Started.

To learn more about this dialogue, visit Learn More about This Dialogue.

(@nasreen.bhutta)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Work Force of Tomorrow, A more Inclusive Society!

One thing is certain, companies do need to have a more diversified work force and that includes hiring people with Disabilities, and this may not be an easy task, but companies need to be understanding, flexible and willing to train and desensitize their work culture as a whole. To fil this gap, companies need to reach out and work closely with Disabled organizations, approaching them ahead of time and letting them ...more »

Voting

1 vote
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(@sharonaustin)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Create a "clearinghouse" or fund "incubation" expertise centers

To the point: "What are the biggest challenges, whether internal or external in nature, that companies face when trying to recruit and hire qualified people with disabilities? " I've been chewing on particular a comment from jason.weppelman "There are a a lot of great people trying to help people with disabilities enter the workforce. The only way anything will change is by us working together and ...more »

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2 votes
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(@alba.sierra)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Providing the Necessary Tools to Perform the Job

The appropriate tools, such as, laptops, mobile devices, work station, telephones, printers, or other office accommodations should be made known when recruiting efforts are put in place, that specify that the workplace environment is disability-friendly. Vacancy announcements should be written in a manner that makes it an attractive workplace in addition to the job itself. Work with community organizations that provide ...more »

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4 votes
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(@sharonaustin)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Create a Matrix For Employers for Equipment Already On Hand

Create a Matrix that Employers can use to match the "kinds" of accessibility equipment that would particularly match the office equipment and/or software they already have in place, or already to have contracts to use. This matrix would contain equipment matches to accessibility equipment, such as: Microsoft Products with IE 11: JAWS 14, JAWS 15, JAWS 16 Employers probably don't know which kinds of accessibility ...more »

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2 votes
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(@rhodapp)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Being Proactive, Developing a Talent Pipeline

As we know, there is a shortage of workers in the STEM occupations and Skilled Trades. Out of desperation, businesses with these occupations are looking for other sources for talent. The changes to Section 503 in 2014 have been monumental for VR to get a foot in the door with these types of businesses. Section 503 is now complimented with WIOA requiring VR to outreach with youth and provide them work based learning. 503 ...more »

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7 votes
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(@leahlobato)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Education of incentives and supports

Business partners need to know where to go to learn more about the incentives and supports available to them as they work through the recruitment, hiring, promotion and termination process with individuals with disabilities. Once business feels confident that they know where to find trusted resources and support they will be more willing to take the perceived risks of hiring an individual with a disability. Some states ...more »

Voting

9 votes
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(@gregory.weiss)

Recruitment Sources

VA Chapter 31, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Division

The Department of Veterans Affairs has the Chapter 31 program that aids disabled veterans obtain employment These veterans have often gone through college training programs as at the end of there rehabilitation plan they enter an "Employment Ready" status as determined by their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. The case is then transferred to an "Employment Specialist" whose job is to assist these job ready veterans ...more »

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5 votes
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(@junermassoud)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Women in STEM with Disabilities

Helping women in STEM with disabilities and their small businesses attract and maintain federal contracts. These women are highly educated and knowledgeable with many years of work experience. They could make a good, solid contribution to the USA. They may have fallen upon hard times during their lives and are also involved in care giving for their relatives and friends so they need a boost.

Voting

9 votes
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(@sharonaustin)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Provide a Reason To Join The Company

I'm writing on behalf of a friend with multiple disabilities; his thoughts and opinions follow here. My friend has often noted that employers do not explain themselves as to "why" they are interested in a person with disabilities, in the case of those who self-identify. There is concern that the employer may be doing this to check off a box to show inclusivity, and that the possible employee in question is not really ...more »

Voting

4 votes
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(@mike001)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Employers need a Comprehensive Plan

Most employers do a good job in formulating their strategy to attract individuals with disabilities. Also most leave out an important factor in my opinion. That is the psychological aspect of having a disability. From my experience, it is very difficult for a person with a disability to self identify. They feel it is demonstrating a weakness. Secondly, even if a person self identifies, asking for an accommodation is ...more »

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7 votes
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(@cnickolaus)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

SHIFT

Shift is a on-line job matching and resource sharing website that has just been released in the Kansas City area. it was developed through a partnership with the Greater Kansas City Business Leadership Network and the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council. For more information go to SHiFT.gkcbln.org or contact Charles "Chaz" Nickolaus at 800.500.7878 or e-mail at cnickolaus@moddcouncil.org

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3 votes
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(@mike001)

Recruitment Sources

Where to recruit qualified people with disabilites

Employers (Federal Contractors can recruit qualified individuals with disabilities both online and through brick and mortar. If an employer is looking to hire for entry level positions, I would suggest contacting Disability Student Services Departments at colleges and universities where the job requisition is. Next employers can contact the local Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. Employers with a national footprint ...more »

Voting

7 votes
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(@cschultz)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

multi task jobs

So many individuals that are seeking employment are thrown off course from many jobs due to the fact that they require a multitude of skills. These "Entry level" job descriptions will scare off many people that may not have the entire skill set requested. I often encourage them to apply if the skills that they are lacking are not the major task of the job. What we find is that the smaller the employer the more you ...more »

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5 votes
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(@sharonaustin)

Recruiting Strategies to Attract and Recruit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities

Provide Ready Access to the Language for Self-Identification

Self-Identification is a challenge, understandably, because of pride. It is also a challenge because, as I understand it, it must be able to conform to a set of standards in order to make the person with disabilities eligible to apply under the conditions stated in Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) (The source I'm looking at right now is: https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm) ...more »

Voting

5 votes
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Ideate