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EARN 2023 Think Tank: Hiring in Practice

“Transforming Human Resources (HR) Through Innovative Disability-Inclusive Policies and Practices” participants identified challenges to inclusive hiring and potential solutions to address them.

On July 27, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and its Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) hosted a virtual Think Tank, “Transforming HR Through Innovative Disability-Inclusive Policies and Practices.” 

The Think Tank convened employers, consultants, community-based organizations, and disability advocates to identify innovative strategies for increasing workforce disability inclusion, both across industries and at the individual organization level. Discussion centered on inclusion throughout the employment lifecycle, including a session focused on hiring. This report summarizes challenges to inclusive hiring identified by participants during that session and potential solutions for addressing them.

Challenges: Hiring

Participants were asked to think about common barriers to the hiring of people with disabilities, including those who are also members of other historically underserved communities. The following is a summary of participants’ responses.

Solutions: Hiring

To identify solutions that promote disability-inclusive hiring, Think Tank participants were asked what changes in policies and practices would have the most significant impact, especially for candidates with disabilities from historically underserved communities. The following is a summary of participants’ responses.


The following resources can help employers implement the solutions above:

EARN Resources

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Explore accessibility considerations related to using AI during the hiring process.

Disability Outreach and Inclusion Messaging: Assessment Checklist for Career Pages

Learn how to ensure your organization’s career pages use messaging and outreach techniques that are inclusive and welcoming to job candidates with disabilities.

Ensuring Accessibility in the Hiring Process

Learn strategies to ensure your organization’s hiring processes are accessible to all applicants, including people with disabilities.

Fostering Disability-Inclusive Workplaces Through Employee Resource Groups

Explore how employee resource groups, or ERGs, play a role in fostering a culture of inclusion.

Hire (and Keep) the Best: Talent Acquisition and Retention Processes

Learn about effective policies and processes for hiring and retaining employees with disabilities to meet organizational diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) goals.

Hiring Strategies for Specific Sectors and Industries

Understand special considerations for federal contractors, federal and state employers, and small businesses related to hiring people with disabilities.

Job Descriptions

Learn about the components of inclusive job descriptions and their role in the employment of people with disabilities.

Partnerships to Build Your Talent Pipeline

Learn about the meaningful role partnerships play in identifying candidates with disabilities and how to collaborate effectively with key community organizations.

Other Resources

Inclusive Internships (PDF)

A how-to guide for employers, produced by ODEP.