Hiring Strategies for Specific Sectors and Industries
Understand special considerations for federal contractors, federal agencies, state employers and small businesses for hiring people with disabilities
Some sectors and industries have special considerations in their search to hire the candidates that are the best fit for their organization. This page contains information for federal contractors and subcontractors, federal and state government employers, and small businesses.
Federal Contractors and Subcontractors
Federal contractors are individuals or employers who enter into a contract with the United States government (any department or agency) to perform a specific job, supply labor and materials, or for the sale of products and services. A federal subcontractor is a company that does business with another company that holds direct contracts with the Federal Government. Under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, both federal contractors and subcontractors have requirements to affirmatively hire applicants with disabilities. They must also ask applicants to self-identify as having a disability. Under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), federal contractors and subcontracts also have affirmative action and non-discrimination obligations for veterans, including veterans with disabilities. Learn more about requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors.
A strong federal workforce is an inclusive federal workforce, welcoming the skills and talents of all qualified people. The Federal Government has taken several steps over the years to increase the representation of people with disabilities in its workforce. For more information, visit the Section 501 Information Center. You can also learn about the history of federal disability employment efforts and using the Schedule A hiring authority. If you are a federal employee at any level whose job duties involve inclusion of people with disabilities, including recruitment, hiring, retention or advancement, you can also join the Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability (FEED).
In many communities across the country, the state government is the largest employer, paying competitive wages and providing benefits to people in a range of positions, from entry-level to highly specialized. Learn more about the State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED) and the efforts of state governments to employ people with disabilities.
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, companies with fewer than 500 employees comprise 99.9% of businesses and employ 47.3% of the workforce in the private sector. Small businesses provide sought-after employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Studies have found that more than 70% of people with disabilities would prefer to work in a small organization. In order to help small business include people with disabilities in their workforce, EARN created Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success, which offers step-by-step information on how small employers can create disability-inclusive workplace cultures.