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Finding Candidates with Disabilities

Take proactive steps to recruit job candidates with disabilities.

“Where can I find job candidates with disabilities?” Many employers tell us that one of the biggest barriers they face in recruiting people with disabilities, including disabled veterans, is where to find candidates who have the skills, interests, and experience to make them a good fit for the organization. Various state and local service providers and other community-based organizations are available to help source candidates with disabilities.

Partnering for Success

Finding the right talent is critical to your organization’s success, and understanding what types of candidates you want to recruit and who can help you find them is the first step in the process. Our factsheet, Partnerships to Build the Pipeline, can help you explore potential partners and consider how they might support your recruiting efforts. For an overview of the universe of organizations and resources that can help you build a talent pipeline, visit our Resources for Finding Candidates with Disabilities. Sources on this page include American Job Centers, Independent Living Centers and other agencies and organizations that serve job seekers with disabilities. These include state Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies.  

Building an Inclusive Talent Pipeline

Some organizations choose to cultivate their own talent sources through work-based learning opportunities, such as internships and apprenticeships. Internships offer on-the-job experience within an organization. Most internships are paid, and some offer course credit for students. Apprenticeships are structured training programs that allow people to acquire skills in trades or crafts. Apprenticeships generally combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction to gain technical knowledge in a chosen field with a clear career path. The U.S. Department of Labor’s website,, has a great deal of information about apprenticeships, including information about the difference between internships and apprenticeships. Learn more about inclusive apprenticeship programs on the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA) website. If you are looking for candidates with a wealth of hands-on experience who have served in the U.S military, you might also consider specific strategies for recruiting veterans.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) as a Recruiting Tool

ERGs, also sometimes known as Employee Networks, Affinity Groups, or Business Resource Groups (BRGs), are internal groups within an organization that offer employees an opportunity to network, address common issues and concerns, and receive support from those who share similar backgrounds, interests or experiences—including disability. Disability-focused employee resource groups (ERG) can play an important role in supporting your organization's recruitment and outreach efforts. For example, ERGs can help boost disability recruiting and hiring by participating in job fairs where candidates with disabilities are looking for jobs, or members can meet with disability and career services at colleges and universities to encourage applications from students. ERG members might also offer testimonials on why your organization is a welcoming and inclusive place to work for use in recruiting materials such as brochures and company career pages.

Talent Sources and Strategies for Federal Agencies

Depending on the nature of positions your organization fills, you may want to connect with college graduates. The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a free resource that connects federal agencies with qualified job candidates for temporary or permanent positions in a variety of fields. Applicants are highly motivated post-secondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workforce. The Schedule A hiring authority is also a useful tool for expediting the process of bringing qualified candidates with disabilities on board, at any stage in their career. To learn more about recruiting and hiring strategies for federal agencies, as well as information on supporting the retention and advancement of federal workers with disabilities, visit the Federal Employment section.