As a federal contractor, you have specific responsibilities related to the employment of individuals with disabilities. As per the amended Section 503 of The Rehabilitation Act, the goal for disability hiring is 7% across all job groups.
Preparation is key and there are steps you can take in advance. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare:
Has your HR staff received disability training?
The Department of Labor Employment Training Administration (ETA) makes available to companies Disability Employment and Training Services. The Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative, a federal cross-agency effort working to increase equal employment opportunities and financial independence for individuals with disabilities publishes a guide for employers titled ‘Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining and Promoting People with Disabilities. The Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative includes participation by agencies across the federal government, including the Department of Education, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Department of Veterans Affairs, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Council on Disability, Office of Personnel Management, and the Social Security Administration. This guide outlines that in addition to helping ensure compliance with the nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, and affirmative action policies of federal contractors a diverse, inclusive workforce has many additional benefits for businesses, agencies, and organizations. There are specific incentives available to both private and public sector employers who want to hire individuals with disabilities.
Are you familiar with the Self Identification requirements under Section 503?
The new regulations require that contractors invite applicants to self-identify as Individuals With Disabilities (IWDs) at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process, using language prescribed by OFCCP. The new regulations also require that contractors invite their employees to self-identify as IWDs every five years, using the prescribed language. Read about OFCCP’s New Regulations to Improve Job Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities.
Understand the benefits of hiring people with disabilities
Hiring candidates with disabilities has many advantages. They are a smart, hardworking group of people who tend to be very loyal to their company. Turnover is usually low and productivity high.
Follow leaders who do it right
There are several leading companies that make hiring people with disabilities a priority. The tech sector hires many candidates with autism, workers who can perform specific, intense and sometimes tedious tasks. Autistic workers, with their extraordinary abilities for memorizing, concentrating and repetitive tasks are great for the tech industry. Examples are Microsoft, SAP and Specialisterne.
Display helpful information on your website to help candidates with disabilities
Connect people with disabilities to information relating to disability services and programs nationwide. Have you ever visited Disabilty.gov? They help people with disabilities, their families and caregivers and provide helpful resources on topics such as how to apply for disability benefits, find a job, get health care or pay for accessible housing.
Connect individuals with disabilities to training and employment programs
Disability Guide to Employment is a great place to find information about job training programs, help with job application process and employment programs.
What is Section 508 and are you compliant?
Section 508 establishes requirements for electronic and information technology developed, maintained, procured, or used by the federal government. Section 508 requires federal electronic and information technology to be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and members of the public. For more information, click here
Additionally, at America’s Job Exchange we have resources to help with your compliance and audit needs as well as all your outreach efforts to find talented candidates.