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Employer Assistance & Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): A service of The Viscardi Center.
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Federal Contractors

Federal Contractor Requirements

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires all organizations with federal contracts of $15,000 or greater to take affirmative action to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities. New regulations pertaining to the enforcement of Section 503 of the Rehab Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) outline enforcement strategies for federal contractor affirmative action requirements. Visit the website of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to view the U.S. Department of Labor's updated regulations, which include specific recruitment and employment goals, as well as new evaluation requirements. For more information on federal contractor requirements, please visit: Federal Contractor Requirements, e-laws Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor.

EARN provides resources to assist federal contractors in understanding their responsibilities, obligations and the benefits of recruiting and retaining individuals with disabilities:

Federal Contractor Requirements - Overview of the definition of and requirements for federal contractors, including information on Affirmative Action. 

Affirmative Action Plans - Information on developing Affirmative Action Plans that effectively incorporate individuals with disabilities.

Checklist for Compliance with Section 503 - A new interactive tool to help federal contractors self-assess their compliance with the affirmative action program (AAP) requirements of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Business Case - Information on the many reasons to employ people with disabilities, including organizational success stories.

Frequently Asked Questions - Answers to the most frequently asked questions about employing individuals with disabilities.

Disability Laws - Information on key legislation and regulations related to disability in the workplace.  

Recruiting Candidates with Disabilities

Ensuring access to diverse candidates is a key first step in recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities. EARN has several resources that can support contractor recruitment efforts:

Connecting to Recruitment Providers and Job Posting - Information includes effective recruitment practices, such as developing linkages to community disability service providers, and a list of job posting resources.

Finding Students and New Graduates - The Workforce Recruitment Program connects employers to students and recent graduates with disabilities for entry level positions and internships. (Text, Video)

Sourcing Veterans - Information on recruiting veterans and available tax incentives.

Tax Credits - Information on how organizations can take advantage of tax credits when hiring individuals with disabilities. (Text, Video)

Managing Employees

Much like managing employees without disabilities, developing, retaining, and advancing workers with disabilities are important processes to maintaining an effective workplace. The following EARN resources can assist with these efforts:

Accommodation - Describes the interactive process of providing reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. 

Disability Management
- Information on proactively developing a disability management program to minimize the impact of an employee's injury, illness or disease in the workplace and facilitate return to work.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) - Information on Employee Assistance Programs, a workplace support for employees with and without disabilities.

Disability Laws - Information on key legislation and regulations related to disability in the workplace. 

Retention - Overview of retention strategies for maintaining a diverse workforce which includes people with disabilities.

Professional Development and Advancement for Employees with Disabilities
 (PDF) - Information on strategies for the professional development and advancement of employees with disabilities.

Inclusive Workplaces

Creating and cultivating an inclusive workplace for employees with disabilities will help federal contractors fulfill requirements as well as create a welcoming environment for employees with disabilities. Consider the following EARN resources when improving workplace culture:

Disability Etiquette - Overview of the importance of disability etiquette and awareness.

Fostering Workplace Inclusion - Information on why employers should include disability in their diversity plan.

Do Ask, Do Tell: - New Report Addresses Strategies for Encouraging Self-Disclosure

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) - A Guide to starting and implementing an ERG to support employees with disabilities.

Non-Visible Disabilities (PDF) - Guidance on supporting staff with non-visible disabilities.

Business Case for Accessibility - Discusses the benefits to businesses of having an accessible workplace and website.

Web Accessibility and Workplace Accessibility- Overview of web and workplace accessibility implementation.

Other Assistance for Federal Contractors

EARN Newsletter - The latest information on disability employment.

EARN's Consultation Service - Complimentary consultations can be provided over the phone or online.

Tour of EARN Services - This 30 minute webinar provides an overview of EARN services.    

Page last updated on Tuesday, January 21, 2014