Finding A Qualified worker With a Disability

By , February 3, 2011

At the start of another year, business owners who want to grow their inclusive work environment are looking for tools to help them find, train and retain qualified candidates with disabilities. Here are some resources:

The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) operates the Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN), which provides employers with confidential, no-cost consultation, customized technical assistance and resources to support their diversity and inclusion efforts by integrating employees and veterans with disabilities into the workplace. Topics include tax incentives, accommodations and interview techniques. You can reach an EARN Employment Specialist at earn@earnworks.com or toll-free at 1-866-327-6669 (Voice/TTY).

If you’re a private employer looking for an intern, try EarnWork’s Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities, which connects employers nationwide with highly motivated post-secondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities. Private-sector employers can call 1-866-EARN-HOW or send an email to earn@earnworks.com. (Federal employers can find interns by visiting www.wrp.gov to register and search independently for job seekers who meet their hiring needs.)

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), sponsored by the Department of Labor, is a great source for free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace. Their consultants offer one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities. Assistance is available both over the phone 1-800-526-7234, live chat or email through the JAN on Demand page.

ODEP also operates Career One-Stop, which helps employers hire, train, retain and assess potential employees. Career One-Stop’s tools include America’s Career InfoNet where employers can create customized, meaningful job descriptions to help them find and attract the best candidates. They can also explore resources about finding and hiring qualified employees, and find tools, guides, and services related to employee screening during the hiring process. Career One-Stop also helps employers find their state job bank to post job openings or search for candidates through JobBankInfo.org. It also provides a list of private job banks including Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, JOBCentral.org, Flipdog.com, and HireMeNow.com.

Another ODEP resource is the website Disability.Gov. The Employing People with Disabilities section includes resources for employers about recruiting, hiring and retaining people with disabilities. Information is available on assistive technology and accommodations, tax incentives, occupational safety and success stories.

Last but not least, check out The Society for Human Resource Management’s staffing management articles; Inc. Magazine’s recruiting guide and DiversityInc.com’s disability section.

Author: Suzanne Robitaille

Suzanne Robitaille is the founder of abledbody.com, a website on disability issues. She is the former assistive technology columnist for BusinessWeek.com, giving rise to her fascination with technology that helps people with disabilities surmount barriers in the workplace and life space. She is also the author of The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology & Devices. As a writer and blogger, Suzanne is a trusted source of disability information for The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, HealthDay, Media Post, Ability Magazine, Disaboom and more. Suzanne lost her hearing at age four and grew up profoundly deaf. In 2002 she received a cochlear implant, which she credits as "the ultimate assistive technology."