Resources to Best Recruit and Retain Employees with Disabilities

Resources to Best Recruit and Retain Employees with Disabilities
Monday, December 11, 2017
Man and woman talking via ASL

Author: Kathy Petkauskos, Director of Work Without Limits

When it comes to hiring and retaining employees with disabilities, it’s important that companies gather and get familiar with all the information and resources that are available to assist. Leveraging the multitude state and national resources can be extremely helpful and beneficial to both the employee and the employer yet at the same time, it can be overwhelming and daunting as there are so many to choose from! Below we have gathered information on a few of the leading federal and state resources that can assist companies on their journey to successfully employing and retaining people with disabilities. People with disabilities, family members, and service providers will also find many of these resources useful. 

  • The US Dept. of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (aka ODEP) develops and influences policies and practices that increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This is a leading and reliable source of information on disability employment.
  • Work Without Limits, a program of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, provides training and consultative services to individuals with disabilities, family members, employers, state agencies and employment service providers. Work Without Limits sponsors the Massachusetts Business Leadership Network (MABLN), an association of MA employers all committed to including people with disabilities in their workplaces, and hosts an annual conference, career fair, and Disability Mentoring Day, as well as a job board. To source candidates, Work Without Limits collaborates with a number of state agencies, community based organizations, regional employment collaboratives, one stop career centers, and institutions of higher education, all of whom are listed here
  • The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the premier resource on workplace accommodations.
  • The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (or EARN) provides education and training for employers as well as assistance with recruitment and compliance. 
  • The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) connects federal and private employers with college students and recent graduates with disabilities for summer or permanent jobs.
  • The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) is a national association of businesses all committed to disability inclusion. They offer a national annual conference and expo; the Disability Equality Index that lists the best places to work for persons with disabilities; a Section 503 Self-Evaluation Tool; and they are the leading third-party certifier of disability owned business enterprises, and have over 40 affiliates across the US. Work Without Limits sponsors and coordinates the Business Leadership Network in MA (MABLN).
  • The Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) is an online system that includes a national talent pool of individuals with disabilities and a job posting system for businesses.
  • State Vocational Rehabilitation (State VR) help individuals with disabilities prepare for and obtain gainful employment. Each state has a State VR Agency, and some states have two. In Massachusetts we have the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB).
  • The American Jobs Center System (aka One Stop Career Centers) provide a full range of assistance to ALL job seekers including people with disabilities, dislocated workers, mature workers, youth and young adults, veterans, and more.
  • The Massachusetts Office on Disability works to ensure the full and equal participation of all people with disabilities in all aspects of life by working to advance legal rights, maximum opportunities, supportive services, accommodations, and accessibility in a manner that fosters dignity and self-determination. MOD provides services and information on disability rights and resources, architectural access, disability non-discrimination training, and disability emergency preparedness.
  • The New England ADA Center  is one of 10 regional ADA Centers comprising the ADA National Network.  Since 1991, the ADA National Network has provided information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), tailored to meet the needs of business, government and individuals at local, regional and national levels. The New England ADA Center is a helpful resource supporting the ADA’s mission to “make it possible for everyone with a disability to live a life of freedom and equality.” Call their toll free number at 1-800-949-4232 to get ADA questions answered.

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If you need more information on resources, please contact Work Without Limits here:

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Comment below if you’ve ever worked with one of the many services listed above, and let us know which community resources that have assisted you in being successful when connecting with job candidates with disabilities!



Kathy Petkauskos Headshot

Author Bio: Kathy Petkauskos is the Director of Work Without Limits and Associate Director of the Disability, Health and Employment Policy unit at UMass Medical School. Kathy lives in Hudson, Massachusetts and is the mother of two children both of whom have disabilities and are now grown adults living and working successfully!