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Where To Find Qualified Candidates With Disabilities

Image of two Women in an office hallway, happily discussing work. One of the women is disabled.

Not everyone who qualifies as “disabled” can hold down a job, but a considerable number of people with disabilities are working. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that as of June 2021, the labor force participation rate for persons aged 16-64 with disabilities is 35.4%, compared with 33.5% throughout 2020.

Employing people with disabilities enables you to grow your talent pool, build a culture of diversity, fulfill your workforce needs and foster goodwill among customers. That said, you should not hire someone simply because they have a disability. Instead, they should be qualified for the job.

However, finding qualified candidates with disabilities can be challenging for employers. Knowing where to look is key to securing the right people. Below are resources that can help.

Community-based organizations

These include:

  • State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, which help people with disabilities find, keep or regain employment. Employers interested in hiring people with disabilities can submit job openings to the VR agency.
  • American Job Centers (AJCs), which are located in communities nationwide. AJCs can assist businesses with recruiting and hiring people with disabilities.
  • Centers for Independent Living (CILs), which are nonprofit agencies operated by and designed for people with disabilities. CILs offer various types of services, including employment assistance.

The Workforce Recruitment Program

The WRP connects employers with qualified candidates who have disabilities. According to the Department of Labor website, WRP candidates are “highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workforce.”

Employment networks under the Ticket to Work program

Administered by the Social Security Administration, the Ticket to Work program helps recipients of disability benefits enter or reenter the workforce. The program has two primary types of providers: VR agencies (see above) and Employment Networks.

ENs consist of employers, government agencies and nonprofits that deliver services — including job placement — for disability beneficiaries under the Ticket to Work program. If you’d like to hire people with disabilities, you may contact an EN in your area.

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network

EARN is a nationwide resource for employers wanting to recruit, hire and retain qualified individuals with disabilities. The EARN website has a plethora of resources for finding applicants with disabilities, including the following job posting websites for employers:

The EARN website also has resources for finding veterans with disabilities.

‘Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, and Promoting People with Disabilities’

Developed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and eight other federal agencies, this resource guide contains essential information for employers that want to hire people with disabilities.

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