Learn More about This Dialogue

Why is this dialogue taking place?

In 2014, historic updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act took effect, strengthening federal contractors’ responsibilities to take affirmative action to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities. Specifically, these updates set a first-ever seven percent utilization goal as well as requirements for contractors to invite applicants and employees to self-identify as people with disabilities.

Section 503 is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), specifically its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). However, given its mission, DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) also has a vested interest in ensuring their successful implementation. Thus, ODEP is committed to helping employers achieve their goals under Section 503 through a range of technical assistance activities and resources, many of which are carried out under the auspices of ODEP’s Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN).

ODEP and EARN are hosting this online dialogue to help inform these technical assistance activities and resources going forward. Federal contractor representatives are invited to participate by sharing strategies they feel are effective in achieving their goals under Section 503 through effective disability-inclusive recruitment strategies (or voting for ideas submitted by others that they feel have significant potential). Specific topics we’re interested in hearing about are effective, ongoing strategies, such as partnerships with disability and workforce development service providers and other community-based organizations to source candidates..

Why participate?

By participating in this online dialogue, you will assist us in identifying effective recruitment strategies that can advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in the federal contractor workforce, which accounts for one in four American workers. This process of information gathering is essential to shaping future activities and resources to assist employers in fulfilling their responsibilities and creating a stronger, more inclusive national workforce. We look forward to your contributions and thank you in advance for joining us in this important effort.

Who should participate?

This online event is open to the general public and to anyone interested in efforts to build a more disability-inclusive workforce, whether at the individual company or state or national level. Given the topic, we strongly encourage federal contractors to participate.

This online dialogue will begin on January 17, 2017. To begin participating in the online dialogue, return to the dialogue's home page and register to submit ideas and vote and comment on ideas submitted by others.