Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Individuals with Disabilities and Veterans—the Real Benefits to Your Company


By: Cindy Karrow of Berkshire Associates

I am frequently asked for examples of the benefits derived by companies who hire Individuals with Disabilities (IWD) and Veterans. Often this question comes from an Affirmative Action Planning (AAP) Manager who is looking for support from staffing representatives, hiring managers, and/or executives for their company’s outreach and recruitment activities. This support may take the form of budget dollars—at job fairs or time spent searching for the best recruitment sources online. Everyone wants to know what the benefits are going to be—what is the return on this investment? This article will explore some of the benefits.

Why should you recruit IWD and Veterans? Most employers are looking for the best talent to make their organizations successful. This usually means jobs are being posted everywhere possible—job boards, state job service websites, career pages, and social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter). Some organizations are paying third parties to handle the heavy lifting of posting, interviewing, and making recommendations on who to select. Regardless of the methods, your company is out there looking for and competing with other companies for talent.

If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, one of the primary reasons to engage IWD and Veterans in your quest for talent is because it shows good faith toward fulfilling your obligations under the AAP regulations. There are other reasons as well—there is a large pool of qualified workers out there who are disabled and/or Veterans, it is good for your public image, there may be tax breaks, and it is good business.

There are a consistent set of skills most employers believe Veterans bring to the civilian workplace. Each of these translates to a desirable quality or skill that business leaders are looking for in employees:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Diversity
  • Core values
  • Self-direction
  • Ability to meet deadlines and handle stress
  • Time management
  • Planning and organizing
  • Ability to conform to rules and structure
  • Strong organizational commitment
  • Ability to accomplish a mission with very little supervision
  • Adept at skills transfer from one task/project to another
  • Work harder, longer, and do not take as many sick days as non-Veterans
  • Resourcefulness
  • Resilience


Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, has this to say about commitment to hiring Veterans in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal:

Commitment means that the 99% of Americans who never served in the military must find more ways now to match the contribution that the uniformed 1% have made. Businesses can do this by hiring veterans. Starbucks and other companies have announced plans to hire thousands of veterans over the next few years. Citizens can do it by building more programs to help veterans apply their remarkable skill set—leadership, grace under pressure, teamwork under the most complex circumstances—to civic life.

Sometimes it is difficult to see what skills and abilities a Veteran brings to the table, because translating military experience, skills, and education into civilian job duties literally requires a translator. A quick Internet search will produce several military skills translators including some that employers have placed on their own career sites. Use the translation information to let Veterans know how they are qualified for your open jobs.

Learn more about recruitment, hiring, and retention of Veterans by starting with the CareerOneStop Business Center, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. Or, download a publication from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) entitled Support from Behind the Lines: 10 Steps to Becoming a Military-Ready Employer.

Companies are motivated to recruit and hire IWD for similar reasons as cited above for recruiting and hiring Veterans. Additionally there are studies to suggest there may be a link to increased revenue potential for employing IWD. Here are two statistics from the National Survey of Consumer Attitudes towards Companies that Hire People with Disabilities

  • 92% of the respondents felt more favorable toward companies that hire IWD
  • 87% agreed they would prefer to give their business to a company that hires IWD

There are some other benefits derived from recruiting, hiring, and retaining IWD:

  • Product improvement
  • Technology and service innovations
  • Increased access to buildings, parking, public areas
  • Expanded products and services
  • Tax incentives
  • Enhance shareholder value
  • Access to new markets

Some of these benefits may not seem readily apparent, however, social issues can turn into business opportunities. Consider what happened at Walgreens when it implemented accommodations for workers with disabilities. The end result was a new universal design that increased efficiency for its distribution centers in Anderson, S.C., and Windsor, Conn.

SunTrust Banks’ Mid-Atlantic Chairman, President and CEO CT Hill is quoted on the Employer Assistance and Resource website (

Hiring individuals with disabilities is, in fact, good for business.  The return on investment to SunTrust can be measured in several ways. One, it helps our diversity initiatives, building a strong workforce; two, it helps us to develop products and services, expanding our customer base; and three, it enables us to reach out to our entire community. It’s good for shareholders and it’s good for business.

There are a wealth of organizations and websites that can provide assistance and guidance to employers, whether you are just beginning a campaign to recruit IWD, or your processes are well established.  A good place to begin is with the Employer Assistance and Resource website (  EARN is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) under a cooperative agreement from the Viscardi Center. In addition to articles, notices, and references, you can read about other employers’ initiatives and success stories.

Berkshire Associates understands the importance of recruiting, hiring, and retaining IWD and Veterans. To learn more about these efforts, read the following article, “Top Talent Requirements are Met When You Hire a Vet.”










Job Hunt Strategies for Women


Women are being hired in higher numbers, but perhaps for jobs that they may not want as careers.  Often, these jobs are low paying and women are compromising  just so they can get employed.  The recruiting specialists at America’s Job Exchange (AJE) have the following tips for women for a successful and more satisfying job search in 2015.

Start Now!

You might want to find the most optimal time to start searching for your dream job but you do not need to wait for that perfect moment-start right away!  There is no need to be completely ready.  Plunge right in and start the process.

 What are you Looking For?

You have to indulge in self-reflection to determine what your professional goals are keeping in mind that it needs to be realistic and it should be based on your current strengths.  What are you good at and what are happiest doing? Where do you see yourself in five years?  What kinds of people and professional environment do you want to be a part of?  Being able to come up with clear, defined answers to these questions will help you structure your job search.  You should also assess honestly your needs and have a plan of action to overcome them.

 Sharpen Your Skills

You have to research skills currently in demand in the line of work you are seeking and then polish them up.  If you do not have the necessary skills, then you need to acquire them.  The Internet has numerous free resources and guides.  You can also take a class or have a friend teach you a certain skill.  Strategic volunteering and creating a blog that highlight the skills that you possess for the job are other options to try.

 Avoid common job-search pitfalls

Women often being the primary care givers in the family, find it hard to make time to conduct an effective job search.  It is imperative that you make quality time every day to go about your job hunt.  Have family members help you out with childcare and you can return the favor by cooking a great meal or giving up your time for something they need.  Perhaps a baby sitter a few times a week is not a bad idea if you can afford it.  Or if your child is of school going age, max out the time he is away to conduct your job search.  The thing to remember is that till you land your job, looking for a job is your full time job whether it be online applying, researching or networking.  Devoting just a few hours a week will not do you any good.  Also, when people know you are home they tend to call to chat or visit and that can take up precious time.  You have to be able to say no graciously, but firmly to those invitations, and make it clear that you are busy with your job search. Guard your time fiercely!

 Increase your Marketability

Carefully build your brand and launch a conscious marketing campaign.  Your primary marketing tool is your resume so pay very close attention to it.  Study samples online and use resource books.  If needed get your resume professionally written.  Social media is the way to go these days so use those platforms wisely.  Make sure your message is consistent and that you are using keyword rich language in LinkedIn and Facebook.  Maintaining a blog is a good idea as it shows knowledge, passion, dedication and discipline.

 Prepare for Your Interview

The interview is your foot in the door opportunity so carefully prepare for it.  Weave your success stories in the answers that you give.  Be clear on the following three areas:  What challenges did you face, how did you overcome them and what results can you showcase?  Present a positive attitude and show excitement for the position.

Ask Questions

An interview is not a one sided conversation.  Companies expect you to ask questions in the interview too.  You could ask about the growth potential of the position, if you are required to manage anyone under you, what kind of work you can expect your first year, what your interviewer most enjoys about the company/organization, how much guidance is made available for people in career developing roles, what is their idea of an ideal employee and so forth.


For more guidance on making your job search in 2015 a successful one, visit the AJE Women Exchange  page to get advice on resume writing, top career choices for women, Federal Agency Resources for Women and other resources.


Recruitment Trends that Will Impact Hiring in 2015


This year, flexible hiring, such as contractors and consultants might be a growing trend.  The unemployment rate is much improved at 5.5% as opposed to what it was four years ago which was at around 9%. From 14 million people unemployed in 2011, it has dropped to about 8 million in 2015.  However, the truth is that there are many who are still unemployed. Many job seekers are more than willing to consider alternatives to full-time employment. Reducing hours per week, offering flexible work schedules, or getting a consulting opportunity are alternatives that could be considered.

Diversity hiring and globalization will impact your business. With many companies conducting business in this global economy, employers will continue to see the need to diversify their workforce; this means bringing in the right talent that can adapt to different cultures, languages and skill sets.

Social media will remain an important part of the hiring process. Sourcing candidates on social media networks is and will continue to be an important part of the hiring process. With the ability to reach a broad, targeted audience, not to mention a great resource for cross-checking candidates, backgrounds, social media recruiting is here to stay. Many employers are also conducting video interviews, in lieu of investing in travel expenses.

Your employer brand is bigger than the four walls of your business. With social networks and the instantaneous access to information, your online brand presence will impact how your brand is perceived offline and the types of candidates you source. It’s not unusual for current, former or prospective employees to blog about your company – with both positive and negative implications. How you manage your recruiting practices and employee relations will impact your hiring practices.

Companies will continue to rely on a streamlined labor pool. With many companies trying to survive economic upheavals or uncertainly, some are opting to either put a freeze on hiring or hire only necessary workers. This means recruiting will play an even more vital role in sourcing the right candidates with the right skill sets. Finding candidates with a wider-range of experience is important, but also sourcing candidates who have the right attitude and willingness to be flexible about their job roles is just as important.

AJE is attending an important recruiting conference, The SHRM Talent Exposition, April 27-29, at San Diego, California and will be exhibiting its recruitment and OFCCP compliance solutions.  Check out our event page.

For additional information please follow the link and fill out a form.  A sales personnel will be in touch soon.  Thank you!<SHRMTalent2015&gt;

New OFCCP Sex Discrimination Rule is Effective April 8, 2015


President Obama signed EO 13672 on July 14, 2014, extending protections against workplace discrimination to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) community. He amended Executive Order 11246 to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The OFCCP on December 9, 2014, issued its final rule implementing Executive Order 13672. It requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants and employees are treated fairly without considering their sexual orientation or gender identity during their employment. The Rule is effective April 8, 2015, and applies to all new or modified federal contracts and subcontracts after that date. The Rule however, does not burden federal contractors with the same data collection and analysis obligations that are required with respect to females and minorities.

The new rules will touch on “compensation discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to provide workplace accommodations for pregnancy, and gender identity and family caregiver discrimination, among other topics.” This is an attempt to modernize these rules which has not been updated since 1970.

Several statutes related to sex discrimination, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, did not exist when the guidelines were published first in 1970, nor did many of the regulations and guidance published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which have a profound effect on employer decisions and policies.

In an effort to align its requirements with EEOC guidance and with recent case law, the OFCCP proposes to enforce new rules, including:

  • A requirement that parental leave be made available for men and women on equal terms.
  • A requirement that employers provide accommodations for women affected by pregnancy and childbirth.
  • A clear prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • A prohibition on harassment and hostile work environments.
  • A prohibition on making employment decisions on the basis of sex-based stereotypes.

The new rules, which will no longer be called “guidelines”, make clear that they have the force and effect of law. The OFCCP also hopes that the new rules will advance the employment status of female employees by clarifying its rules concerning harassment, gender stereotyping, and benefits.

The New Scheduling Letter:Fair Pay and Diversity Outreach- AJE&HRU Joint Webinar


 On March 4, 2015, America’s Job Exchange (AJE) hosted a webinar with HR Unlimited on the topic of the new OFCCP Scheduling Letter and diversity outreach for recruitment compliance. It was very well received with more than 350 in attendance and there were several interesting and relevant questions posed to the panelists.

Rathin Sinha, President, America’s Job Exchange, and Ahmed Younies, President/CEO HR Unlimited, Inc. were the speakers and they covered a broad range of topics that are relevant and interesting to our audience pool comprising mostly of HR professionals engaged in OFCCP compliance in their organizations. Ahmed started the webinar by highlighting the important elements of the new Scheduling Letter, mentioning that one of the trends he has noticed is more cases of enforcement initiatives related to hiring of job seekers with disabilities as well as protected veterans. In addition, there are new items now on the Scheduling Letter; 22 as opposed to 11 in the past. These items are mostly related to hiring of candidates with disabilities and veterans.

Examining the data covering four months (October-January 2013-14), and comparing that with actual audit enforcement data between October –January 2014-15, Younies showed some interesting trends. He highlighted 5 industries where these enforcement trends are relevant with construction being an industry where enforcement was highly escalated in 2014. Other industries were manufacturing, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, Healthcare and Social Assistance and Administrative Support and Waste management Remediation Services.

The top areas of where the enforcement issues lie are record-keeping and reporting. Sinha picked up from here and went over the solutions of AJE, focusing on the areas that are relevant to federal contractors and addressing the two biggest enforcement violations. First, he recapped the regulations to isolate the precise requirements that are necessary for a successful compliance effort. He went over in great detail to relate it to what compliance recruitment should look like and how there are three areas of recruitment needed for success. These take the form of broad outreach efforts made to general audiences, extending the outreach to diversity specific job sites that cater to diversity candidates, specially focusing on job seekers with disabilities or job seekers who are veterans and finally to distribute the job listings to local One-Stop Centers and State Job Banks.

Sinha then highlighted the record keeping and reporting areas and went over the capabilities that has broad implications in audit situations and can help federal contractors establish good faith outreach efforts toward these job seeker groups.

Finally, Sinha went over in detail, areas the contractor community must focus on to be successful in their compliance efforts and that means that they have to invite themselves in the compliance effort even if they have sought the services of a third party vendor such as AJE. Employers also should designate someone in their company to make sure that the job listings have all the necessary information required by states such as location of job, salary information, educational requirements as well as making sure that the contractors are registered in the state where they post jobs. Contractors should work with the third party vendor to ensure that the state credential process is solid. Fortunately, AJE offers tools and solutions in the online customer portal that can help customers manage this process.

One final area that Sinha emphasized is that contractors should go beyond what is needed in the outreach process and what is outlined in the solution AJE provides and proactively reach out to their local Community Based Organizations, the non-profits engaged in helping job seekers, particularly job-seekers with disabilities and veterans. Contractors should work with AJE to send job listings to additional recipients, participate in hiring events and job fairs to reach this audience and to make sure that these events are properly recorded by type of event, the HR that participated, the job seekers they met there and document the overall outreach effort. To this end, AJE has recently launched a partner outreach management tool for all customers. Sinha went into great detail demonstrating some of the capabilities of this tool.

The webinar laid out the area where federal contractors should focus on, the solution and the involvement they need to document for a successful outreach program.

To view the webinar slides, click here.

To learn more about the AJE compliance solution, click here.


Hard to Fill Jobs Series -2

The next job category featured in our seeker blog series is: Laborers, Freight, Stock, and Material Movers

 Job Summary:

  • Manually move freight, stock, or other materials or perform other general labor. Includes all manual laborers not elsewhere classified.

Primary responsibilities

  • Move freight, stock, or other materials to and from storage or production areas, loading docks, delivery vehicles, ships, or containers, by hand or using trucks, tractors, or other equipment.
  • Sort cargo before loading and unloading.
  • Attach identifying tags to containers or mark them with identifying information.
  • Read work orders or receive oral instructions to determine work assignments or material or equipment needs.
  • Stack cargo in locations such as transit sheds or in holds of ships as directed, using pallets or cargo boards.
  • Record numbers of units handled or moved, using daily production sheets or work tickets.
  • Install protective devices, such as bracing, padding, or strapping, to prevent shifting or damage to items being transported.
  • Direct spouts and position receptacles, such as bins, carts, or containers so they can be loaded.
  • Attach slings, hooks, or other devices to lift cargo and guide loads.
  • Maintain equipment storage areas to ensure that inventory is protected.


  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without ‘giving out’ or fatiguing.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Dynamic Strength — The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.


  • 70% High school diploma or equivalent


  • Median wages (2013) $11.52 hourly, $23,970 annual

Job Outlook

  • Projected growth (2012-2022) Average (8% to 14%)