Disability and workforce development service providers play a key role in helping job seekers with disabilities find employment, and in helping employers find talent to match their business needs. What’s more, they can provide ongoing supports to ensure the success of people with disabilities once on the job.
EARN’s Engaging Employers: A Guide for Disability and Workforce Development Service Providers examines how disability and workforce development service providers can build effective relationships with employers based on this “dual customer approach.” It draws upon employer feedback about their experiences working with service providers as well as lessoned learned by EARN and the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (CSAVR) National Employment Team (NET) over more than 10 years of active engagement with employers of all sizes and in all industry sectors.
Additional resources and agencies that can assist in efforts to improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities include:
Network with Your State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency
State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies can help job seekers with disabilities find job training and employment opportunities. They also help employers identify qualified job candidates with disabilities. Find your state’s VR agency, or contact the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (CSAVR) National Employment Team (NET), a nationwide network of business consultants that serve as employers’ points of contact for VR agencies.
- On the Job Seeker Resources page (https://retired.askearn.org/resources/job-seeker-resources/), change “Vocational Rehabilitation Organizations” to “Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agencies”
Collaborate with Your Local American Job Center
American Job Centers share job postings with anyone looking for a job, including people with disabilities and veterans with disabilities. Contact the American Job Center nearest you to identify opportunities for your job seekers with disabilities.
Contact Ticket to Work
Ticket to Work (TTW) is a program for SSA beneficiaries who are interested in work opportunities. If your organization serves SSA beneficiaries, you may want to consider enrolling them in the TTW program. For more information, visit the Ticket to Work website or call 1-866-7842 (TTY/TDD: 1-866-833-2967).
Find Opportunities on Online Job Boards for People with Disabilities
These online job boards are geared toward job seekers with disabilities and are great places to find employment opportunities for the individuals you serve:
Job Boards for Veterans with Disabilities:
Connect Job Seekers to Training Programs
disABLEDperson, Inc. operates the Microsoft IT Academy and provides free access to hundreds of online training programs for job seekers with disabilities. If this is of interest to you, we recommend you contact disABLEDperson via email or phone to get more information or access to the training. This can be a nice opportunity to upgrade IT skills and enhance employability. Job seekers with disabilities can also post resumes on disABLEDPerson’s website www.disABLEDperson.com.
Connect with Local Businesses
Contact these organizations for help locating employers who hire people with disabilities:
Discuss Hiring Incentives
The employers you contact in your outreach efforts may result in your business being eligible for tax incentives. Visit the following guides for more information:
- Employer Incentives for Hiring People with Disabilities: Federal Tax Incentives At-A-Glance – This fact sheet offers basic information about national hiring incentives for employers who recruit people with disabilities.
- Hire Gauge – This online calculator assists employers in calculating the benefits their business may be eligible for based on recruiting people with disabilities.
Training and Resources for Employment Services Staff
The Institute for Community Inclusion is proud to be authoring courses for the new College of Employment Services (CES). CES is a series of online classes for employment professionals. The lessons cover best practices around creating job accommodations, disclosing disabilities, building personal and professional networks, and many other topics. This accessible, practical curriculum equips employment professionals to meet and surpass national and agency standards for their field.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the LEAD Center’s work focuses on promoting innovation in policy, employment and economic advancement to advance individual and systems level change for all people with disabilities. The LEAD Center provides policy research and recommendations, training and technical assistance as well as demonstration projects designed to break down silos in existing systems, processes and practices, and foster wider understanding, adoption and integration of next-generation employment practices in both the public and private sector.
The U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration funds ten regional Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Centers across the U.S. to provide information, training and technical assistance in vocational rehabilitation.
ANCOR has partnered to develop an online curriculum for direct support professionals and supervisors. The College of Direct Support, College of Employment Services and College of Frontline Supervision and Management are designed to help those who support people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities provide quality services and build rewarding careers.
APSE has established the Employment Support Professional Certification Council (ESPCC) to oversee a certification program for employment support professionals. Job coaches, job developers, transition employment specialists, job placement personnel and employment specialists/consultants can earn the designation of Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP) by passing the national CESP examination. APSE also partners with employers to help with their individual efforts. One example is its “Fruits of Employment” program, which is a partnership with TIAA and employers in the agriculture industry.
NAWDP administers the Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP) credential to recognize the training, experience and expertise of professionals who—directly or indirectly—facilitate the process by which individuals identify, train for, attain and maintain employment and self-sufficiency. NAWDP offers webinars in topics relevant to workforce development and sponsors an annual conference.
Vocational rehabilitation organizations interested in developing work opportunities by acquiring sub-contracts can participate in the SourceAmericaNISH network. SourceAmerica aims to serve and ensure employment for people with disabilities by connecting nonprofit agencies that train and employ people with disabilities to Federal and commercial contractors. Participation in the SourceAmerica Network provides access to contract opportunities offered in the areas of products and services from the Federal Government and commercial businesses. These opportunities provide jobs for people who have significant disabilities. There is no cost to join the SourceAmerica Network and it is not a membership organization. SourceAmerica also provides training in a variety of formats on contract management, professional development and service provision.