In February of this year, the White House released a Resource Guide to Hiring People with Disabilities as a product of an initiative called Curb Cuts to the Middle Class. This guide is extremely helpful to companies looking to hire people with disabilities or for those looking to freshen up their diversity policies. The guide is laid out in four separate sections including: best practices for recruiting candidates with disabilities, best practices on respecting, retaining and promoting employees with disabilities, best practices for providing reasonable accommodation and the legal framework behind it all! In this Blogging4Jobs post, let’s take a deeper look at the guide and highlight what could be helpful to your organization.
The guide starts out by sharing a dramatic statistic: Americans with disabilities make up about 19% of the population, but only 17.96% of people with disabilities are employed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. How can we change this statistic? By hiring people with disabilities, of course! The first step is learning how to recruit people with disabilities. In this section of the resource guide you’ll find information on how to conduct targeted research, how to ensure your hiring process is accessible to all and how to ask effective questions in the interview.
What does it mean to conduct targeted research before hiring people with disabilities? Make an effort to build partnerships with local nonprofit organizations and state employment agencies that assist in the disability employment process. It’s easy to get connected with federally funded state and local employment programs for people with disabilities through the National Employment Team website. This one-stop-shop connects employers with potential employees, support services, nonprofit organizations and more.
Another way to recruit people with disabilities is sharing job postings in a targeted area. Posting on disability- friendly job boards and with disability organizations is a great way to find more candidates. A few national job boards for people with disabilities are the Workforce Recruitment Program and The Talent Acquisition Portal.
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How do you interview a candidate with a disability? There are several tips you can take from a previous Blogging4Jobs post, but it’s important to remember that you can never ask about the disability. You can however ask about how the candidate would be able to perform essential job duties.
Section two of the guide takes an in-depth look at best practices on retaining employees with disabilities. How do you create an inclusive work environment or implement disability-friendly programs in your workplace? A great place to start is with the disability-friendly business checklist. Use this checklist to evaluate your workplace and see if you can improve your accessibility. Another way to retain employees with disabilities is to offer tailored on-boarding programs, on-the-job training and career development opportunities, mentoring programs and employee resource groups.
Section three of the guide discusses reasonable accommodation. According to the resource guide, reasonable accommodation is “any change in the work environment or in the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.” A major misconception is that reasonable accommodations are expensive, which is usually not true at all! Check out these stats from the Job Accommodation Network: 56% of accommodations have no costs, 37% have a one-time cost of $500 or less and 4% have on-going expenses. That’s amazing- it’s really not as costly as one would think!
If you are curious about accommodations and are looking for another go-to guide, check out Job Accommodations Network’s Searchable Online Accommodation Resource or their Accommodation Information by Disability. Both guides are extremely helpful with any questions about reasonable accommodations.
The last section of the guide focuses on the legal aspects of hiring people with disabilities, specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. The ADA was highlighted in this previous Blogging4Jobs post if you are interested in learning more. Section 503 is enough content for a whole other blog post, so stay tuned for more on this in the coming weeks!
This resource guide for employers is an amazing go-to guide when hiring people with disabilities. This post only touches on the highlights, but there is so much more information! Don’t forget to check out the last few pages of the guide, which includes links to additional resources for your reference and continued research. Happy hiring!