Attracting and Recruiting Job Candidates with Disabilities

What employers can do

By Compiled by DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Jul 26, 2010

Employers can take a number of incremental steps to ensure their workplace is inviting and inclusive for people with disabilities.

Be prepared: Educate all staff on disability. Hold brown bag lunches with invited speakers on specific disabilities and other disability topics. Provide opportunities to learn sign language. Obtain copies of Diversifying Your Workforce: A Four-Step Reference Guide to Recruiting, Hiring & Retaining Employees with Disabilities at

Provide accessible facilities and services. Buildings, parking areas, workspaces and communication systems, including phone and computer systems, should be accessible to applicants and employees with various kinds of disabilities. Make sure your external web site and company intranet is accessible in format and content.

Accommodate applicants and workers with disabilities. Contact the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) at for free assistance with accommodation questions and issues.

Aim to be an employer of choice for candidates with disabilities. Job candidates with disabilities gravitate to organizations that are disability friendly and have a record of hiring and advancing workers with disabilities. For example, the U.S. Department of Defense has been targeting and hiring interns and applicants with disabilities for many years.

Recruit Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities. College recruiters should target students with disabilities by contacting Career Services and Disability Student Services Offices in advance of campus visits.

  • The Workforce Recruitment Program at http://www.wrp.govprovides employers with access to a prescreened database of post-secondary students with disabilities seeking summer or regular positions. Student career majors in this database range from math and accounting to engineering and law.
  • Engage students with disabilities in mentoring opportunities, internships, summer jobs, cooperative work experiences and apprenticeships so that students can demonstrate their skills while gaining valuable work experience.

Recruit adults with disabilities. For local or national recruiting, contact the Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies in your state or nationwide. These agencies provide employment services and counseling to individuals with disabilities who want to work but experience barriers to work because of a physical, sensory, and/or mental disability. A list of agency contacts can be found at

Recruit disabled veterans. Various resources are available to help employers find veterans with disabilities such as, and

Target advertising. Advertise in disability-related publications and via disability-related organizations and web sites. Appropriate targeted marketing lets candidates with disabilities know you are interested in what they have to offer.

Post jobs where applicants with disabilities are likely to find them. Examples include disability service organizations targeting specific populations, such as Lighthouse for the Blind, the Epilepsy Foundation, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Easter Seals, etc., and local One Stop Career Centers.

Find out what other employers are doing. The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) is a national business organization that uses an employer-to-employer strategy to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce, marketplace and supplier chain.

Contact service providers for people with disabilities. The Social Security Administration offers an employment program for individuals with disabilities. Ticket to Work Employment Networks help employers search for people with disabilities by zip code or city.

Participate in Job Fairs. Attending job fairs for job seekers with disabilities gives recruiters a chance to meet candidates and begin the interview process.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), a sub-cabinet level policy agency in the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), provides national leadership on disability employment policy by developing and influencing the use of evidence-based disability employment policies and practices, building collaborative partnerships, and delivering authoritative and credible data on employment of people with disabilities.


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