Enhance Your Workforce & Save Money by Hiring People with Disabilities
Enhance Your Workforce & Save Money by Hiring People with Disabilities

Categories: Employment

By Guest Blogger Cecelia Taylor, U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Communications and Public Liaison

Are you looking for smart, talented employees? Are you interested in new ways to find potential hires? Do you want to save your business money through hiring incentives?

If so, you should consider recruiting and hiring people with disabilities!

Employing Individuals with Disabilities

There are many Americans with disabilities who are not currently employed, but have the skills and experience necessary to succeed. For information on the benefits of hiring from this often overlooked talent pool, read the Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities. You can also find success stories on Disability.gov, as well as case studies of companies who have benefitted from hiring people with disabilities.

Reasonable Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.

Studies have shown that the costs associated with making these accommodations are often less than expected, and the benefits of employing people with disabilities far outweigh the expense. According to the Job Accommodation Network, 56 percent of accommodations cost absolutely nothing. For more information about reasonable accommodations, visit the Employer Resources section on Disability.gov.

State Programs

Many state governments provide resources or programs for people with disabilities and their employers. Massachusetts’ Employing People with Disabilities portal is an example of a specialized state program. Visit your state’s labor agency to learn more about available services in your area. 

Tax Incentives

Federal and state tax incentives for businesses are part of the many benefits of hiring people with disabilities. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federal tax incentive for businesses that hire employees from 12 target groups, including Veterans and certain people with disabilities.

To learn more about tax incentives related to hiring people with disabilities, read SBA’s Hiring People with Disabilities guide or visit Disability.gov’s Tax Incentives section.

Additional Resources for Employers:  

  • Disability.gov offers employers information on topics such as recruiting and hiring, interviewing and employment laws and regulations.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy  (ODEP) acts as an advocate and facilitator for people with disabilities in the workforce.
  • ODEP’s Add Us In initiative works to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities.
  • The U.S. Department of Educations’ vocational rehabilitation (VR) program operates 80 state VR agencies that provide rehabilitation counseling and comprehensive and individualized employment services for eligible individuals with disabilities.
  • The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), is the leading source of free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.
  • The Employer Assistance Resources Network (EARN) establishes connections between employers and qualified candidates with disabilities.
  • The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) helps employers find qualified college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are looking for summer and full-time job opportunities.
  • The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) “What Can YOU Do?” initiative is a nationwide effort to educate employers about how the talents and abilities of people with disabilities can positively impact businesses, both financially and organizationally.
  • The Think Beyond the Label campaign offers information on why employing people with disabilities is beneficial for businesses.

Cecelia Taylor is a public affairs specialist for the National Press Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. She is responsible for assisting in the development and implementation of communications strategies to ensure the SBA’s mission, programs, services and initiatives are articulated to the small business community and to the public. Ms. Taylor also serves the interest of small businesses by promoting the agency’s Entrepreneurial Development programs and services.

4 Responses to Enhance Your Workforce & Save Money by Hiring People with Disabilities

  1. Ashley says:

    Thank you for sharing, Jen. I am happy to hear the reason why you fight. It is hard to feel like the government is not providing promised services to people who need them. Good thing, there are other organizations and companies that can help. Have you looked into any? Also, you can get school tuition relief without getting government assistance. Read this post to see what might be available to you.

  2. Ron W. says:

    To Whom This May Concern,
    I am curious re: my medication costs. I am in the Donut Hole. I am Disabled from a stroke that I had back in 1996 and have not worked since then. I am using Oxford med plan at present and by using that plan it had me drop my Medicare altogether. Can someone please advise me as to what I have to do next.
    Yours Truly…Ron W.

  3. Charles S. says:

    This is a great blog, full of exceptional resources for employers seeking qualified workers with disabilities and for individuals with disabilities who may be looking for additional resources to achieve employment. I wanted to suggest that you add another important resource to your list, a national program that since its inception in 1910 has been responsible for assisting over 10 million of Americans with disabilities to achieve employment. The program is called vocational rehabilitation (VR) and there are currently 80 state VR agencies (some states have a separate agency to serve individuals who are blind or visually impaired). Competent and qualified VR Counselors staff the public VR agencies around the country and, in addition to providing rehabilitation counseling, provide comprehensive and individualized services to each eligible individual leading to employment. The state VR agencies are mandatory partners in the one-stop service delivery system created by the Workforce Investment Act and many VR offices are co-located in the one-stop centers. In addition to furnishing a wide variety of services to help individuals with disabilities return to work, the state VR agency has an extensive network of employers who rely on the agency for providing them with qualified job applicants and expert knowledge of the impact of disability on the workplace. In order to obtain contact information for the VR agency in your state, visit the following site:
    http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/Programs/EROD/org_list.cfm?category_ID=SVR

  4. Kassie L. says:

    I think the government is doing a great job promoting the idea of hiring disabled people in the realm of small business.