By Natalie Rodgers
Hiring workers with disabilities can bring tremendous benefits to your company, including expanding your talent pool. Hiring people with disabilities can also bring diverse experiences to the workplace, decrease turnover rates, improve company morale and even help you qualify for financial incentives. But even for employers who are actively looking to hire individuals with disabilities, reaching this particular audience can be a complex process.
If you’re looking to bring on talent with disabilities, you’ll want to ensure that your recruitment strategy and outreach initiatives are up to the task. Here are some tips for recruiting workers experiencing disabilities:
Work with Your Local Service Providers
People with disabilities want to find employment just as much, if not more than you want to hire them. Therefore, many people with disabilities work with organizations that will help them throughout every step of the job search process. Several government-funded organizations across the United States are designed to help people with disabilities connect with companies that can provide work for them. If you’re looking to hire people with disabilities, one of the best ways to do this is to become familiar with these groups:
- American Job Centers:
Sponsored by the Department of Labor and with over 2,400 locations, American Job Centers (AJC) provide free help to job seekers. Individuals with disabilities looking for work often use them. By visiting their website, you can find your local AJC branch and work with them directly to connect with qualified candidates that can fulfill your job openings. Many AJCs also offer recruiting events, workshops on resume writing, interviewing skills and job search activities.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies:
Federally funded vocational rehabilitation agencies work with individuals with disabilities focusing on their employment needs. Employers can submit their job postings to their local agency, which will be shared with their vast network.
- The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities:
Also known as WRP, this free resource connects postsecondary students with disabilities with private businesses and federal agencies nationwide looking to hire qualified candidates in various fields. Through WRP.jobs, private employers interested in gaining access to these individuals can post permanent and temporary positions.
- Employment Networks:
Employment Networks (ENs) are organizations that work to provide employment and services to individuals with disabilities through the Social Security Administration. Recruiters can contact their local ENs and work with them directly to employ candidates with disabilities.
Submit to Specialized Job Boards
If you’ve done any kind of hiring in the past, then you’ve probably used a job board. Instead of using a generic job board, seek out the online boards people with disabilities utilize. While many of these job boards do require a fee per posting or resume search, there are a few that offer their services at no charge. Some of the most popular job boards for job-seekers with disabilities are:
- The AAPD Career Center
- OurAbility Connect
- The Viscardi Center’s Disability Employment Service
Attend Career Fairs
Through the above organizations and nonprofits working to reduce the unemployment rates of individuals with disabilities, there are several disability-focused career fairs that you can attend to begin your recruiting process. Your presence at these conferences will not only allow you to meet your potential employees face-to-face (or screen-to-screen for virtual conferences) but show communities with disabilities that your company sees value in their skills and experiences. These conferences also offer classes and workshops on making your business space more accessible for those with different experiences.
Don’t Forget about Veterans
Instead of utilizing disability-focused resources during the job hunt, many service-disabled veterans may exclusively use veteran resources to look for work. Make sure to engage with veteran-focused conferences and organizations throughout your hiring process to expand your hiring pool further.
Sources: EARN, Department of Labor, Ed.gov, CareerOneStop