Are you overlooking candidates with disabilities?  

In March 2024, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a report on people with disabilities in the federal workforce, highlighting the often-underused programs available to hire these workers. Companies can take advantage of the information highlighted in the report to boost their worker numbers while remaining compliant with the EEOC. 

The report, Promising Practices for Using Schedule A to Recruit, Hire, Advance, and Retain Persons with Disabilities, examines how agencies use Schedule A hiring authority to appoint job applicants with certain disabilities to federal positions outside the competitive hiring process. While Schedule A applies specifically to federal agencies (which must ensure at least 12% of workers are people with disabilities), many of the recruitment practices listed in the report can also be used in the private sector. 

Practices for Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Persons with Disabilities 

All companies, both public and private, may not discriminate against a candidate or employee based on a number of factors including: race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), genetic information or disability. Following the practices below can help keep you compliant with EEOC and other laws, like Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and solidify your company’s commitment to a more inclusive work environment. 

Collect and Store Information about Candidates with Disabilities 

Capturing candidate information is essential during the recruitment process. Adding candidates to your HR databases allows you to tap into that pool when you need to quickly fill a position.  

To start gaining more applications, post job announcements that encourage candidates with disabilities to apply. In fact, EEOC employers must include the EEO tagline in all job ads, for example, “Equal Opportunity Employer, including disabled and veterans.” 

If the candidate does supply documentation of his or her disability, make sure it’s included in their digital file. It’s important to note that federal contractors and subcontractors should maintain records of all employee-related decisions for a minimum of two years. 

Increase Representation of Candidates with Disabilities for Open Positions 

Targeting underrepresented workers requires taking some extra steps to reach them, like using niche job boards and collaborating with local agencies.  

To reach candidates with disabilities, develop paid internship programs by partnering with local disability nonprofits. The internships can develop into full-time paid positions. 

Establish hiring procedures that proactively target all candidates, including those with disabilities, and encourage recruiters to consider them for open positions.  

Provide Training and Outreach 

Encouraging more candidates with disabilities to apply for positions can also be improved through internal training and outreach efforts that increase your recruiter’s knowledge and awareness of these potential employees. 

Ask recruiters and managers to attend webinars that provide information on hiring persons with disabilities. Also train managers on how to combat stereotypes about persons with disabilities in certain occupations. For example, in most cases little or no extra accommodation is required when hiring a person with a disability; less than 40%of workers with disabilities require accommodations at work and, if they do, they often cost less than $500. 

Connect with more candidates by attending career fairs and developing partnerships with organizations that serve persons with disabilities including disabled veterans. Send your open position announcements to vocational rehabilitation centers and workforce development programs. And encourage your own employees to refer candidates with disabilities. 

Learn More about Hiring Persons with Disabilities 

There are several reasons why a company should follow the above best practices to hire more people with disabilities, not least of which is that it’s the right thing to do. But employers have found that people with disabilities also have a higher retention rate. Businesses who have diversified their workforce to include people with disabilities reported a 90%increase in retention of valued employees and a 72% increase in employee productivity. Plus, your business might qualify for incentives and tax credits like the Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). 

Arcoro’s Applicant Tracking System can aid companies with crafting and posting job opportunities open to persons with disabilities. Our software can automatically add the EEO tagline as well as provide templates for job descriptions and offer letters. 

Our partner, Arvo, can help companies navigate the complexities of the WOTC program, helping improve cash flow by up to 40%. 

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