AskEARN | Hiring 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.

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

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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

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 the skills and talents of all qualified people. In pursuit of this goal, the Federal Government has taken several steps over the years to increase the representation of people with disabilities in its workforce. To learn more about hiring strategies focused on federal employment of people 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 employ people with disabilities. 

Small Business

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.