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Resources for Employers

Learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance individuals with disabilities!

Are you looking for best practices for disability inclusion for your organization?

Are you focused on meeting OFCCP’s Section 503 goals?

As you know, there are a growing number of employers in all industries who are looking to create effective recruiting systems and successful hiring strategies to attract a wide range of applicants within the disability community. Many of these employers promote initiatives to increase the participation of employees with disabilities within their companies as part of their diversity strategies. However, these employers are finding that their companies better understand the marketplace when they employ a diverse workforce and that workers with disabilities provide an often over-looked talent pool. We have provided a collection of resources for your reference as you look to diversify your workforce.

Inclusive Practices

APSE believes that a strong economy is fueled by all individuals working and contributing to the bottom line. Americans with disabilities are an invaluable resource for the economic development strategy to move our country forward. We are calling upon employers to tap into this skilled labor pool of applicants to meet your business needs. We recommend utilizing the business resources that are available through the agencies in your community that support individuals with disabilities. Talk to your business colleagues about this great opportunity!

Section 503: What does it mean for you?

On September 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a Final Rule in the Federal Register that makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. With these new rules, private businesses that do business with the federal government (which is well over 20% of businesses) will be undertaking increased efforts to actively recruit and employ individuals with disabilities. As a federal contractor/sub-contractor, you may be asking how to improve your success with employing and retaining individuals with disabilities. As an organization exclusively focused on employment of individuals with disabilities, we can serve as an important resource to assist employers to meet these new requirements through identification of qualified job candidates, and assistance and supports to ensure these individuals succeed on the job.

Highlights of the New Section 503 Rules

    • 7% Employment Goal: Federal contractors and subcontractors will now have a goal that 7% of individuals in each job group in their workforce consist of qualified individuals with disabilities.
    • Data Collection: Contractors will be required to track data on the number of individuals with disabilities who apply for jobs and are hired.
    • Compliance Enforcement: Contractors must allow the federal government to review documents to ensure they are complying with these new regulations.
    • Affirmative Action Requirements: The regulations specify a series of requirements for federal contractors to ensure they are maximizing their efforts to recruit, hire, and provide career advancement to individuals with disabilities, including outreach to an array of disability organizations.
    • Invitation to Self-Identify: In order to track recruitment efforts, under the new rules, federal contractors can now ask job applicants to voluntarily self-identify as an individual with a disability prior to receiving a job offer and after they have received a job offer. Additionally, current employees will be asked to voluntarily identify themselves as individuals with disabilities every 5 years. It will be critical to monitor the implementation of these voluntary self-disclosures requirements to ensure that the rights of individuals with disabilities to non-disclosure under the American’s with Disabilities continue to be respected.

When Do the New Regulations Go Into Effect?

The new Section 503 regulations became effective on March 24, 2014. However, contractors with a written affirmative action program already in place on the effective date have additional time to come into compliance with the AAP requirements.

Additional Information

Other Resources

Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN): EARN supports employers in recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing qualified individuals with disabilities through confidential, no-cost:

  • Consultation and technical assistance,
  • Customized training,
  • Comprehensive online resources, and
  • Links to state and local community-based organizations serving job seekers with disabilities.
  • EARN is part of the National Employer Technical Assistance, Policy, and Research Center at Cornell University funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor.
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