Building the Future…Mentoring a Student with a Disability

October is National Disability Employment Awareness month, and includes National Disability Mentoring Day, which falls on the third Wednesday of the month. It was created in 1999 to bring greater awareness and national attention to the employment opportunities for people with disabilities.CNC-panel-mentor_mini

Mentoring Day gives students with disabilities the opportunity to visit a business or government agency to learn about careers of their choice and to experience the workplace environment for a day. It is encouraging that businesses open their doors to these students who have career desires and aspirations, like all students.

It takes an individual with a disability 10 times more interviews prior to being hired than the average candidate – and it is not because the individual with the disability is not qualified. For the most part, it continues to be the fear and attitude barriers of hiring managers that are created by a lack of knowledge, understanding and experience.

Mentoring Day gives both the student and the managers an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding for the desires they each have in a comfortable supportive learning environment.

HirePotential is asking you, businesses, to step up, expand your knowledge and mentor a student with a disability. You will be building your future as well as the future of a student with a disability!

Are There Gaps in YOUR Updated AAP?

The Time is Now to Assess Your AAP


When I educate clients about the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in America’s workforce, the top issues I address are Accessibility, Accommodations, Training, Outreach and Recruiting Plans.

Questions I ask are:

Is your website accessible? Can all people access your site and career page? Do you know? Please don’t rely on your third party for this answer. It falls on your the company in the end. Make sure!  

Have you trained your recruiters, hiring managers, support staff and co-workers on how to interact with individuals with disabilities during an interview or how to position a candidate with an obvious disability to a hiring manager?

Do you have an accommodations process? Is it a proactive process? Has the onboarding process been reviewed? Have managers been trained in supervising employees with disabilities? Is there training for the employee who may have coworkers with disabilities?   

Many companies have no idea what to do when it comes to disability inclusion. Let’s face it: disability has been ignored. With 7% measurement—and as the saying goes, “what gets measured gets done!”—the time has come for us, as government contractors, to do a better job in the inclusion and employment of individuals with disabilities. It IS the larger minority that anyone can join at any time and it IS the least talked about at conferences and within our companies until recently.

Now is the time for government contractors to receive annual training on disability etiquette with regard to interviewing and communicating with individuals with disabilities. Understand the facts verses the assumptions. To this day, it is fear and attitude barriers from companies that leads to individuals with disabilities not getting hired—not the lack of skills and abilities. It is my humble opinion that it’s the companies that have limitations, not the individual who happens to have a disability.

People with disabilities are educated and waiting for an opportunity. It’s time for companies to get educated and open their doors to individuals with disabilities to those opportunities. Through my experience I have been a part of hiring hundreds of individuals with disabilities for professional positions, which drove millions of dollars in revenue. How did I do this? It starts with education and champions within the organization who are dedicated to a successful recruiting and hiring process.

Government contractors are now being put to the test. Don’t get caught with your head in the sand. This is real and it is going to continue. As a contractor you must open your eyes and begin a successful implementation plan for the inclusion of qualified talent who happen to have a disability.

Don’t get caught not trying…take action now!

Get educated, realize your gaps, and then implement an action plan.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. What are you going to do to celebrate?

New OFCCP 503 Regulations Make Training Imperative for Recruiters

Are your Recruiters Ready to Interview and Position People With Disabilities?

Over the last several months, I have noticed an alarming trend in my presentations to recruiters, hiring managers and government contractors. When asked, most have no knowledge or understanding of “disability anything.”

To be successful and show good faith efforts corporations, government contractors, recruiters and hiring managers need to know:

  • Disability étiquette
  • The most common assistive technologies used
  • Truth vs. myths surrounding people with disabilities
  • Do’s and Don’ts when interviewing and hiring
  • How to position someone with an obvious disability
  • How to properly conduct and interview
  • Understanding the accommodation process

The solution to these deficiencies is training, training, training! Knowledge is power.

Training for Recruiters and Hiring Managers

  • On-Site Training – Our full day live training is the fastest, most effective way to bring your managers and recruiters up to speed. It includes video, role playing, participants workbooks and exercises and interactive participation.
  • Webinars – Each month we offer a free 30 minute webinar designed to advance your knowledge in disability hiring. We also offer paid HRCI Certified live webinars that qualify and continuing education units.
  • eLearnings – Our eLearnings allow students to learn at their own pace. They can be installed on your Learning Management System (LMS) so you can monitor student progress and completion rates. We can also customize them with your companies messaging and branding.


Five OFCCP Disability Pre-Audit Actions To Take Right Now!

Five Important Pre-Audit Actions to Take Right Now Image of an Audit report with audit satisfactory checked

As a government contractor, you are measured and must show good faith effort and show progress in the inclusion of people with disabilities. Do you have barriers that limit access to people with disabilities? You should have a plan in place to correct any potential deficiencies.

Here are 5 key pre-audit actions you should be taking now:

  1. Assess Your Recruiting Flow Which Includes Your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – To make sure that all applicants have equal access to your job openings, evaluate your resume flow from home page to completing the application process. Applicants that use assistive technology, may not be able to access your website, job postings and submitting their resume.
    Benefits of an Accessible ATS:

    1. Meet OFCCP and EEO Regulations
    2. Save money by reducing the labor intensive manual application process
    3. Be proactive in hiring veterans and people with disabilities – it’s the right thing to do!
  2. Assess Your Accommodation Process and Knowledge – Do you know what an interactive process is? Do you have alternative formats for your recruiting and marketing materials? If you do pretesting, is it accessible? Do you know the most common assistive technology that people with disabilities use? Be proactive rather than reactive. In doing so, you will reduce you liability and improve a candidate with a disabilities experience.
  3. Train Recruiters and Hiring Managers – Create a culture of inclusion and limit your exposure to liability. Prepare your recruiters to conduct successful interview with people with disabilities.
  4. Assess Your Outreach and Recruiting Plan – Build local, state and national relationships with those entities that work with people with disabilities. improve your outreach and reporting numbers. Quality training limits your exposure and helps broaden you knowledge of an expanded talent pool.
  5. Prove Good Faith Effort – By taking proactive action, you are showing good faith effort in complying with OFCCP 503 Regulations. It is critical that you are progressing, taking action and moving forward in the inclusion of people with disabilities.

What gets measured, gets done! By not taking action you are limiting you outreach to people with disabilities and opening yourself up for possible exposure.

If you would like a OFCCP Disability Pre-Audit to determine areas of weakness, we can identify opportunities and implement solutions for you. Let the disability experts at HirePotential be a part of your team.

Learn about our OFCCP Disability Audit Service

How to Survive an OFCCP Disability Audit

Audits are expensive. Failing audits are very expensive. In the world of social media and rapid communications, the impact of a failed audit can reach far beyond the potential fines and government sanctions. Whether you are currently in an OFCCP audit, you have one scheduled, or you would like to conduct a self assessment – read on…

Actions Government Contractors Must Take to Survive An OFCCP Audit as it Relates to Individuals With Disabilities:

  1. Make sure your online recruiting tools are accessible to people with disabilities
  2. Have an interactive accommodation process for integrating individuals with disabilities into your workforce
  3. Develop and implement ongoing training for all of your recruiters and hiring managers. Make sure they know how to effectively recruit, interview and position people with disabilities.
  4. Self Identification is Key – Change your systems and your hiring process to encourage individuals with disabilities to appropriately self identify.
  5. Measurement – if it can’t be measured it can’t be managed and it can be costly – the choice is yours.
  6. Ensure that your subcontractors are in compliance! – We can audit them for you!

At HirePotential, we have created an OFCCP Disability Audit Assistance Service called Taking A.I.M. We will help you Assess, Implement and Maintain your Disability Compliance Requirements!

Learn More About Taking A.I.M.

Learn More About OFCCP’s New Rules for Surrounding Disability Compliance



Attitudinal Barriers Stop Us from Hiring People with Disabilities

Attitudinal Barriers Can Get in the Way

Just like all negative attitudes, there are barriers in life. The same is true for hiring people with disabilities. Often times these barriers are negative attitudes based on falsehoods, misguided information or just lack of awareness. This is unfortunate because it limits our choices and keeps us from moving forward in a positive manner. In other words, we miss out based on a false belief.

Businesses miss out on hiring qualified talent and committed individuals because of these attitudinal barriers. It is proven that negative attitudes or lack of understanding toward people with disabilities is a key barrier to hiring.  And, more importantly, a barrier to truly obtaining the best candidate. Yes, people with disabilities can be your best candidates!

Businesses are facing many challenges in hiring and retaining quality employees. When limiting their selection, they are adding to the challenge.

Misconceptions About People with Disabilities:

  • Workers with disabilities get hurt more easily and therefore must be placed in roles where safety is less of an issue. At two Walgreens distribution centers, each with 40 per cent more employees who have a disability, the overall costs associated Report: “Hiring people with disabilities is good for business!” with accidents was 78 per cent lower than any other center with a lower percentage of staff with disabilities. (Spinal Cord Injury 2/2)

  • People with disabilities require extra supervision and have lower performance rates. A 2007 DuPont study found that 90 per cent of people with disabilities were rated average or better on job performance

  • Accommodating new employees with disabilities is expensive- 57 per cent of workplaces who hired people with disabilities had no extra costs and 37 per cent of companies who did need to accommodate employees averaged a onetime cost between $400 -$600. (JAN-Job Accommodation Network)

What can be done:

  • Provide education
  • Conduct yearly training
  • Create first hand experiences
  • Support systems

Due to the increased focus from OFCCP on outreach and recruiting of people with disabilities, many companies are electing to train their recruiters on disability awareness, interviewing people with disabilities, and accommodations for disabilities. However, this training is not being offered to hiring managers.  If we do not provide training and support to our hiring managers the barriers will remain for people with disabilities and the risk of exposure to the business rises.

Recruiting and retaining employees who acquire a disability can be challenging, especially for companies who do not have an accommodation process. And for those that do, the hiring managers usually have not been properly informed and/or trained on the accommodation process. This lack of knowledge can lead to poor decision making. With proper training and the right accommodation process, the manager is no longer making decisions based on budget or if the employee is worthy of the accommodation.

Companies are being faced with increasing issues around an aging workforce. With an aging population comes disabilities and/or limitations. Companies who do not address this issue run the risk of legal action being filed against them for not  considering or providing [reasonable] accommodation to people with disabilities.

Hiring managers need:

  • A process and support
  • Education and training
  • A budget that includes accommodations

With these tools and support, hiring managers can be successful at recruiting and retaining employees with disabilities.


Maximizing Your Hiring Tax Credits

Do you know that credits for your business have been in place for several years and it’s easy to qualify? If you hire people AND/OR own you building in a particular zone, you qualify.

Surprisingly, most of these credits go unclaimed due to the fact that either the employers think it will take a lot of their time and effort, or they just do not know about it. Hiring Tax Credits were set up by the Federal Government to incent employers to hire from a diverse market and low income area.

Over $4.2 billion in tax credits go unclaimed each year and only 1% of all companies capitalize on these tax credits. That is a lot of low hanging fruit that’s not being claimed, and it’s time to grab it. In this economy, businesses need to think smarter, and in doing so, they need to look at all incentives out there. Hiring Tax Credits is one of them, and it is easy to claim your part of the pie.

This is for you, if you…

  • Hire people
  • Have or will have tax liability
  • Own your building in a Empowerment Zone
  • Own your building in a Renewal Zone
  • Hire from a diverse population
  • Have high turn over

On average, 10-15% of your current hiring practice may qualify for tax credits. Many businesses outsource their Hiring Tax Credit process to companies like HirePotential, so it saves them time while making them money. When companies outsource their tax credit process, they can see a 75% ROI by only adding 2-3 minutes to their hiring process.


12 Tips to Handling the ADAAA & Its Liabilities

Reasonable Accommodation is defined as changes or adjustments in a work site or job that make it possible for an otherwise qualified employee with a disability to perform the duties or tasks required.

Before the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAAA), liability had been in favor of the employer. Since the ADAAA took effect, companies need to have a focus on accommodation vs. the definition of disability.

It’s important for companies to have a process in place. In a recent survey, 50% of respondents said that they did not have a documented process in place for Accommodation. The ADAAA now looks not only to employees, but candidates as well.

Here are 12 Tips to Handling Liability and the ADAAA:

  1. Companies need to show they have processes to make individual assessments of employees’ qualifications with or without accommodations
  2. You should provide training to HR, managers, and supervisors to remind managers of their duty to accommodate not only employees with disabilities, but also applicants with disabilities
  3. Make sure you have an Accommodations Process in place
  4. Re-evaluate policies to make sure that they are with in ADAAA compliance, especially in the application and interactive processes
  5. Make sure that job descriptions accurately describe what employers believe are the essential functions of the position
  6. Employers are put to the test to evaluate employees one by one
  7. Develop internal protocols on how to approach situations
  8. Develop tools, forms, letters and processes to handle accommodation requests
  9. Companies may want to outsource to a third party, like HirePotential, to assess and implement the process
  10. Procure certain types of assistive technology
  11. Develop protocols, procedures and accessibility guidelines for the IT department

If these things are not implemented within an organization, the liability is much greater now than ever before.

Best Practices for Solving Your Compliance Problems

There are 3 ways employers generally solve compliance problems.

Band-Aid Approaches
1. Employers have a dedicated person to take calls and assist on the application process.

2. Employers have people fax their resumes.

Best Practice Approach 
3. Employers go to their ATS companies to discuss accessibility, what they know, and how they are going to get the software accessible.

The first two ideas are what I would call band-aid approaches. Because the directive states “accommodation,” the company can have some wiggle room by having someone dedicated to assist in the application process. AND, yes companies can do technically do this; however, I don’t think this will be a viable solution for the long term.

If you are handling those resumes differently than you do with the resumes that come through the online process, then you will be out of compliance again. This is because of the EEOC and systemic discrimination from the OFCCP directive in 2006. Essentially, if you are handling the resumes any different than you do with the online resumes, including putting them in a basket or file, then you could be out of compliance.

The best practice approach, and the best way, to be compliant is the third way: Making the Applicant Tracking System accessible for all people to access your jobs online. Having your ATS accessible will make your online process acceptable.

If you need help with accessibility, there are companies that can assist you, such as HirePotential. Companies like HirePotential can assess your website to see what needs to be done to have your jobs be fully accessible to all people, help you meet OFCCP compliance, AND open up your virtual doors to a larger talent pool of qualified individuals.

Applicant Tracking System’s OFCCP Compliance is Misleading

Generally speaking, companies responsible for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) have not included accessibility in their development of their software. The problem lies in ATS companies’ misunderstanding of OFCCP compliance. When the question is asked to ATS companies if their software is OFCCP compliant, they state, “Yes, we have OFCCP reporting capabilities.” When asked if they are accessible, the common answer is “Yes, we can provide reporting,” or they state that they have no idea what accessibility means.

Because OFCCP is questioned, the ATS companies immediately assume it is about reporting. It is very misleading to the companies who work with government contracts and must have Accessibility Compliance.

Quite often, we find that both the contractor and the ATS companies do not know enough about what accessibility is to ask the right questions to make sure they are on the same page. This causes ATS companies to mislead their clients, because reporting and accessibility are two completely different directives.

It is important that companies make sure that the Applicant Tracking System they use is Accessible and OFCCP compliant. There are companies, like HirePotential, that exist to help you and your ATS Company become Accessible and OFFCP Compliant.