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June 15, 2012

Hiring People with Disabilities – Core Resources

Because I have been inspired by the stories and career path of people with disabilities, I always believe that people that may be in this category deserve at least the same consideration as anybody else. This means employers must continually educate themselves on how to make their hiring and recruiting practices more open to great people. What have I found? I have found most companies who hire individuals with disabilities or special needs hire people with super abilities. I did a little polling of some of my senior executive clients into how people with disabilities added to the general nature of their companies. I found that people in this group tend to:

– Teach By Example How to Overcome Adversity Daily

– Can Be the Most Thankful and Humble Employees

– Remove Excuses in Organizations

– Create a More Forgiving Atmosphere at Work

This information may not be from the US DOL but it’s pretty true. So here is some of the latest news from the world of human resources on and around this issue within the hiring. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 12.5 percent in April 2012 versus 7.6% for people without disabilities. A survey was released in April by the Society of Human Resource Management that 61percent of the 662 HR professionals responding said that their organizations now include disabilities in their diversity and inclusion plans; however, Dori Meinert reports in HR Magazine that “only 47 percent said their organizations actively recruit people with disabilities, and even fewer – 40 percent – said senior managers demonstrate a strong commitment to do so.” In the same survey 49 percent of the respondents cited a lack of qualified applicants as a barrier to hiring people with disabilities, about one in four listed supervisors’ lack of knowledge bout accommodations. About one in five said the cost of accommodations was a factor.

We believe that hiring people with disabilities must be a part of employer practices in hiring and recruiting. The United States Department of Labor provides some very good information and advice for employers.

For employers and people in hiring you may not know that these resources are available.

Hiring People with Disabilities
The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides the following programs to help employers find qualified applicants with disabilities:

  • The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities is a free, nationwide database of pre-screened, qualified postsecondary students and recent college graduates with disabilities who are available for permanent and temporary positions. Employers can search the database by state or job category and obtain specific information on candidates’ qualifications.

ODEP also offers fact sheets to educate employers about laws pertaining to the hiring of people with disabilities. These laws generally are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
DOL Web Pages on This Topic

Recruiting and Hiring Practices
Provides links to information on how to find qualified applicants with disabilities and comply with laws protecting people with disabilities in the workplace.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit program provides a tax credit for employers who hire certain targeted low-income groups, including applicants who are vocational rehabilitation referrals.

Business Leadership Network
The Business Leadership Network is a national program led by employers in concert with state Governors’ Committees and/or other community agencies that engages the leadership and participation of companies throughout the United States to hire qualified job candidates with disabilities.

In the same survey by the Society of Human Resource Management, Meinert argues concerns over accommodations are “frequently unfounded” and “56 percent of all accommodations cost nothing, the typical one-time expenditure is about $500, according to the Job Accommodation Network, a free service provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Pay attention the facts and the tangible proof to help your organization grow in many ways by hiring people with disabilities. They are quite able to change your culture for the better regardless of temporary inconveniences it may cause through accommodations.

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