NILG Info Center: Sourcing Job Candidates with Disabilities
Information and resources to help federal contractors and subcontractors find applicants with disabilities that have the skills, interests, and experience your organization needs to succeed.
Many organizations express that one of the greatest barriers they face in hiring people with disabilities, including disabled veterans, is the inability 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 to Source Candidates
Forming partnerships with state and local agencies and disability-focused organizations is an important part of ensuring a pipeline of talent with disabilities. Partners may include:
- State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies
- American Job Centers (AJCs)
- Centers for Independent Living (CILs)
- Other community-based disability-focused organizations or service providers
Relationships can be formed through formal partnerships (i.e., signed agreements outlining expectations from both parties) and/or informal interactions (i.e., ongoing contact regarding job openings and candidates). These organizations can help source job candidates and find supports that help bring people with disabilities on board—and ensure their success for years to come.
Internships and Apprenticeships
Sometimes the best source of talent is one you develop internally. Work-based learning and pre-employment opportunities like internships and apprenticeships can provide paths to employment for people with disabilities and offer employers a way to build a talent pipeline of younger workers and others who are looking to join the workforce or explore new career fields.
- 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.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) as a Recruiting Tool
ERGs, also sometimes known as Employee Networks, Affinity Groups, or Business Resource Groups (BRGs), are 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. Your organization’s disability-focused 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, 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 or on company career pages.