AskEARN | Advancement Strategies for Specific Sectors and Industries Skip to main content

Welcome to AskEARN’s new website. As we transition to our new site, you can still visit EARN’s previous site.

About EARN

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) offers information and resources to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; build inclusive workplace cultures; and meet diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals. 

Getting Started

Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; why workplace inclusion of people with disabilities matters; and how EARN’s resources can help.

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    Phases of Employment

  • A woman in a wheelchair shakes hands with a colleague


    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • Two men work at repairing an engine.


    Identify people who have the skills and attributes for the job.

  • A woman with a disability wearing a helmet works in a factory


    Keep talented employees with disabilities, including those who acquire them on the job.

  • A man uses sign language to communicate.


    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

Dinah Cohen Learning Center

EARN’s Learning Center offers a wide range of training resources, including self-paced online courses.

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News & Events

EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and eblasts, which will connect you to upcoming events, developing news and promising practices in the world of disability diversity and inclusion. And don’t forget to follow EARN on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Advancement Strategies for Specific Sectors and Industries

Understand special considerations certain employers have related to advancement of people with disabilities.

Some sectors and industries have special considerations related to advancing employees with disabilities. 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 U.S. 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 include people with disabilities. They must also ask employees to voluntarily self-identify as having a disability.  Under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), federal contractors and subcontractors also have affirmative action and non-discrimination obligations for veterans, including veterans with disabilities. Learn more about requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors

Learn about strategies to help federal contractors meet their obligations under Section 503 and recruit, hire, advance and retain workers with disabilities.

Federal Employers

A strong federal workforce is an inclusive federal workforce, welcoming of the skills and talents of people with disabilities. In pursuit of this goal, the Federal Government has taken several steps over the years to ensure that it retains people with disabilities in its workforce nationwide. To learn more about advancement strategies for federal employees with disabilities, explore the following resources:

State Employers

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 retain people with disabilities. 

Small Business

Small business is a backbone of the American economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, companies with less than 500 employees comprise 99.9% of businesses, and employ 47.3% of the workforce in the private sector. Small businesses provide a highly sought-after employment opportunities for people with disabilities. According to research, over 70% of people with disabilities would prefer to work in a small organization. To help small business include people with disabilities in their workforce, EARN created the Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success. It offers step-by-step information on how small employers can create disability-inclusive workplace cultures.

Phases of Employment

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