Why Hire People with Disabilities?
503 Compliance. New rules from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), relating to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, went into effect in March 2014. Among other changes, these new regulations require federal contractors to set a goal of having 7% of their workforce comprised of individuals with disabilities. Click here for more information and resources on 503 compliance.
Building an Inclusive Workforce A Four-Step Reference Guide to Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Employees with Disabilities
Federal Government Employer Tax Incentives:
Tax incentives for hiring people with disabilities. Tax incentives are available to eligible small businesses to hire individuals with disabilities and removing architectural barriers. Call the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Program at 617-626-5353 to learn how to qualify for and receive tax credits–or visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website, where you will find basic information for small employers about EEOC-enforced laws and processes.
Through the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation program, firms can receive a premium credit for enrolling in a Qualified Loss Management Program. The purpose of this program is to apply a prospective credit, for a period of up to four years, to the premium of assigned risk insureds who subscribe to a qualified loss management firm, and remain in such firm’s Loss Management Program during that period.
- WOTC Extension for Hiring Veterans with Disabilities
- Veterans Economic Communities Initiative
- Special Employer Incentives for Hiring Service-Disabled Veterans
Labor For America Assisted Reemployment Program:
Through the Labor For America (LFA) Assisted Reemployment hiring incentive program, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) provides temporary reimbursement for a percentage of wages to non-Federal employers who hire individuals receiving benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). Both public and private sector employers can search the LFA database of Federal workers who have been displaced from their jobs by a workplace injury, but only non-Federal employers are eligible for financial incentives such as salary reimbursement and funding for reasonable accommodations. To help employers with the costs associated with new employee recruitment, training and transition into the job, the program provides reimbursement of up to 75 percent of the paid salary in the first year of employment, up to 50 percent in the second year of employment, and up to 25 percent in the third year of employment. To apply, visit https://www.rtw.dol.gov/#Create_Employer_Account.
State Employer Tax Incentives:
Some state-specific tax credit programs for hiring people with disabilities are based on the Federal Government’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and others are related to accessibility improvements and employment supports.
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services:
State vocational rehabilitation agencies may be able to help employers with some of the costs associated with assistive and rehabilitation technology for employees with disabilities. Employees who are VR clients can request VR assistance to help pay for this type of technology and other employment supports, such as sign language interpreters and readers.
On the Job training funds available through MA Rehabilitation Commission
Job accommodations are usually not expensive. The actual costs for 68% of workers with disabilities is $0-$500. For more about free job accommodations specific to your worker and workplace needs, call the Job Accommodations Network(JAN) at: (800) 526-7234 or visit the Job Accommodations Network web site. The Job Accommodations Network (JAN) provides free consulting services for all employers, regardless of the size of an employer’s workforce. Services include one-on-one consultation about all aspects of job accommodations, including the accommodation process, accommodation ideas, product vendors, referral to other resources, and ADA compliance assistance.
Training & Consulting Services
Free consulting for employers from the Job Accommodation Network.
Training for employers and a myriad of other services regarding the employment of people with disabilities is available through Work Without Limits. Staff presentations and workshops include disability sensitivity, disability awareness & etiquette, and interviewing candidates with disabilities. http://www.workwithoutlimits.org/training-and-consulting#employertraining.
For employers in the public sector and non-profit agencies that support people with disabilities, the Polus Center for Social & Economic Development, Inc. offers staff training on person-centered planning, career development, and leadership development for people with disabilities. The Polus Center also provides internship and career exploration programs for people who are legally blind, and welcomes employers interested in business tours, becoming guest speakers, and providing internship opportunities. Polus is a Massachusetts Statewide Contractor for training and consulting services. www.poluscenter.org.
The Disability Inclusion Accelerator™ provides employers a view of where you are in your disability inclusion journey – and helps you create an action plan to advance your efforts. The National Organization on Disability experts will analyze your Disability Employment Tracker™ responses and meet with you, in-person or virtually, for an in-depth discussion of How your company stacks up against others in the Tracker database, with question-by-question benchmarking; Leading practices with expert observations – informed by 35 years of experience – on where your company excels and your opportunities for improvement; A customized plan with quick wins, and medium and long-term actions, tailored to your business; A playbook on how to use the Accelerator to build buy-in across the organization.
The Lead Center focuses on improving employment outcomes and promoting the economic advancement of people with disabilities, including WIOA opportunities to build integrated cross-system collaborations that improve employment and economic outcomes for youth and adult job seekers with disabilities.
Recruiting People with Disabilities
Posting Jobs to Recruit People with Disabilities – If you’re interested in having your positions posted on the Work Without Limits job board and have access to a database of prepared, professional candidates, contact Bonnie Rivers at Bonnie.Rivers@umassmed.edu.
Massachusetts Business Leadership Network (MABLN) is a Massachusetts-based network of both private and public sector employers who are committed to diversity and inclusion and interested in building capacity to attract, recruit and retain employees with disabilities; market to and service customers with disabilities, and include disability-owned businesses in their supply chains. For more information contact Work Without Limits, http://www.workwithoutlimits.org/massbln.
Building an Inclusive Workforce
Disability Hiring Resources from the Department of Labor
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Employee Rights
- Employers’ Responsibilities
- Hiring People with Disabilities
- Job Accommodations
- Job Search
- Laws & Regulations
- Small Business & Self-Employment
- Social Security
- Workers’ Compensation
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) supports several initiatives that help employers interested in hiring individuals with disabilities, including:
- The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a free, nationwide service that educates employers about effective strategies for recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing people with disabilities. EARN also maintains a list of job posting websites geared toward job seekers with disabilities and a collection of success stories about employers that have made a commitment to disability inclusion.
- The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a free resource that connects private businesses and federal agencies nationwide with qualified job candidates for temporary or permanent positions in a variety of fields. Applicants are highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workforce. Through WRP.jobs, private employers interested in gaining access to these individuals can post permanent and temporary positions. WRP participants can then search and apply for these positions using an employer’s standard application processes.
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides free, expert advice on workplace accommodations that may be necessary to assist qualified individuals with disabilities to apply for a job and maximize their productivity once onboard.
- Although not a resource for hiring per se, the Campaign for Disability Employment offers a variety of media assets, including video public service announcements, all designed to encourage employers and others to recognize the value and talent people with disabilities add to America’s workplaces and economy. Employers can use these resources in the workplace to help spark conversations about disability issues.
ODEP also offers several fact sheets and other resources to educate employers about effective recruitment and hiring strategies, as well as laws such as Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects the employment rights of people with disabilities. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the employment provisions of the ADA under Title I.
U.S. Department of Labor Resources on Hiring People with Disabilities
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit
- Tax Incentives for Employers
- Inclusive Internship Programs: A How-to Guide for Employers
- Building an Inclusive Workforce — A Four-Step Reference Guide to Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Employees with Disabilities
Other Resources on Hiring People with Disabilities
- U.S. Business Leadership Network
- Employer Incentives for Hiring People with Disabilities: Federal Tax Incentives At-A-Glance
- Where Can I Find Qualified Applicants with Disabilities?
- Interviewing Job Candidates with Disabilities
- Information for Employers from the Job Accommodation Network
- Hiring Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities
- Steps Small Businesses Can Take to Recruit and Retain Qualified People with Disabilities
Ten regional centers are funded by the U.S. Department of Education to provide ADA technical assistance to businesses, States and localities, and persons with disabilities. One toll – free number connects you to the center in your region: 800 – 949 – 4232 (Voice and TTY)