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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. 

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Getting Started

Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities — and how EARN’s resources can help.

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    Phases of Employment

  • A man in a wheelchair looks at his phone while waiting for an interview

    Recruit

    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • A woman with a forearm crutch shakes hands with another person

    Hire

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

  • A man looks on as a young woman with Down syndrome makes a coffee drink in a cafe

    Retain

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

  • Image of a woman illustrating how to perform a task to a man with down's syndrome.

    Advance

    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

News & Events

EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our e-blasts and monthly e-newsletter, 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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Section 501 Info Center

Explore all aspects of Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, which provides regulations for inclusion of people with disabilities in the Federal Government.

As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government has committed itself to modeling effective employment policies and practices that advance America’s ideal of opportunity for all.  This is the spirit underpinning Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits federal agencies from discriminating against qualified people with disabilities in employment and requires them to take proactive steps to recruit and retain them. Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updates strengthening Section 501, and EARN is pleased to partner with EEOC to help federal agencies understand and achieve their goals under them.

Personal assistance services are services that help someone perform basic activities like eating and using the restroom. They are not the same as services that help the individual perform job-related tasks, such as sign language interpreters for individuals who are deaf or readers for individuals who are blind or have learning disabilities. These services are already required as reasonable accommodations under the part of Section 501 that prohibits discrimination based on disability, as long as the provision of such services does not impose an undue hardship.

The final rule says that agencies of the federal government must adopt employment goals for individuals with disabilities, with sub-goals for individuals with targeted disabilities, provide personal assistance services to certain employees who need them because of a disability, and meet a number of other requirements designed to improve the recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement of individuals with disabilities in the federal workforce.

Section 501 requires federal agencies to engage in affirmative action for people with disabilities, but does not explain what “affirmative action” means. The Commission determined that stronger regulations were needed to enhance the employment, retention and promotion of qualified individuals with disabilities in the federal government. The final rule gathers together existing requirements from several Executive Orders as well as EEOC directives and other EEOC guidance documents, and adds new requirements that will further improve federal employment of individuals with disabilities and individuals with “targeted disabilities.”

The rule requires each federal agency to adopt the goal of having 12% of its workforce be people with disabilities, and 2% of its workforce be people with targeted disabilities. These goals apply at both higher and lower grades.

Personal assistance services are services that help someone perform basic activities like eating and using the restroom. They are not the same as services that help the individual perform job-related tasks, such as sign language interpreters for individuals who are deaf or readers for individuals who are blind or have learning disabilities. These services are already required as reasonable accommodations under the part of Section 501 that prohibits discrimination based on disability, as long as the provision of such services does not impose an undue hardship.

Guides from EARN

The following EARN guides offer information on three leading strategies federal agencies are using to achieve disability inclusion and achieve their goals under Section 501: self-identification, partnerships and centralized accommodation funds.

Learn More

Phases of Employment

Recruit Hire Retain Advance

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