AskEARN | Finding Candidates with Disabilities 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.

A woman in a wheelchair addresses three colleagues around a small table

    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.

Woman using assistive technology on a computer workstation.

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

A smiling man with an earpiece sits in a wheelchair

Finding Candidates with Disabilities

Take proactive steps to source qualified candidates with disabilities.

“Where can I find job candidates with disabilities?” Many employers tell us that one of the greatest barriers they face in hiring people with disabilities, including disabled veterans, is difficulty finding qualified candidates. 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 fact sheet, 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.  

Talent Sources and Strategies

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 and select private employers nationwide 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. Private employers who would like additional information about partnering with colleges or recruiting college students can contact us to learn more. 

For federal employers, the Schedule A hiring authority is a useful tool in expediting the process of bringing qualified candidates with disabilities on board, at any stage in their career. 

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. 

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.

ERGs as a Recruiting Tool

Even through their membership comprises existing employees, disability-related employee resource groups (ERG) can play an important role in supporting your 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. Disability-related ERG members might also offer testimonials on why your organization is a great place to work for use in recruiting materials such as brochures and websites.

Phases of Employment

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