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WORKFORCE DIVERSITY


Recruiting Young People with Disabilities: A Hiring Strategy with Bottom-Line Benefits


T


hanks to advancements in technology, young people with disabilities can do


virtually any job that someone without a disability can perform. Expanding your workplace to include young people with and without disabilities is a positive way to help shape the future workforce—and benefit your business.


Why Hire Young People with Disabilities?


In addition to enhancing your work- force, recruiting and hiring young people with disabilities makes good business sense. Youth bring fresh new perspectives on strategies for meeting business chal- lenges


and achieving success. Hiring


young people with disabilities is also a valuable way to reach out to an important market base. According to the United States 2005 American Community Survey (ACS), there are approximately 2.4 mil- lion young people with disabilities (ages 16-24).


Finding Qualified Candidates


While many employers indicate that they want to include young people with disabilities in their internships and hiring efforts, they don’t always know where to recruit them. The answer is fairly simple. Young people with disabilities can gener- ally be found everywhere that other youth are found, such as at college career fairs, through job search Web sites, at the mall, or at the student union hanging out with their friends. Because they are also read- ing and writing blogs, exploring Web sites, and connecting to listservs to search for jobs, you can increase the likelihood of grabbing their attention by explicitly stating your desire to recruit and hire peo- ple with disabilities in your vacancy an- nouncements.


The key to making online job informa-


tion accessible to people with disabilities is Web page design. In order to consider the accessibility needs of the end user, there are several design tips and valida- tion services available to webmasters. For a summary of these, visit Tips for Design- ing Accessible Web Pages at www.Ask- JAN.org/media/webpages.html.


Where to Find Young People for Internships


and Permanent Jobs Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) www.wrp.gov Co-sponsored by the U.S. Department


of Labor’s Office of Disability Employ- ment Policy (ODEP), and the U.S. De- partment of Defense, the WRP is a recruit- ment and referral program that connects federal sector, private, and non-profit em- ployers nationwide with highly motivated postsecondary students and recent gradu- ates with disabilities who are ready to prove their abilities in summer or perma- nent jobs.


Don’t Forget Accessibility Another important strategy, which will


also assist you in your broader recruit- ment efforts, is to ensure that your com- pany’s online information and job appli- cations are available


in alternative


accessible formats. For example, provid- ing information in larger print or in sim- plified language may assist you in reach- ing not only young people with and without disabilities, but also older work- ers and individuals with limited English language proficiency. It is also important to ensure that your online application pro- cesses provide sufficient time flexibility so as not to screen out potentially quali- fied workers.


Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN) www.AskEARN.org Funded by ODEP, EARN is a free,


Web-based service that connects employ- ers looking for quality employees with skilled job candidates. The Web site is a one-stop source for disability employ- ment information, including recruiting services, tools and resources, employer success stories, and the business case for hiring people with disabilities.


National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN) www.nyln.org The NYLN promotes leadership devel-


opment, education, employment, inde- pendent living, and health and wellness among young leaders representing the di- versity of race, ethnicity and disability in the U.S. NYLN’s large listserv of young people with disabilities can be a ready dis- tribution mechanism for your job an- nouncements.


Kids As Self-Advocates (KASA) www.fvkasa.org KASA members serve as advisors to the more than 40,000 members of Family Voices across the country and organiza- tions and agencies interested in promoting youth involvement and leadership. KA- SA’s large listserv of young people with disabilities can be a ready distribution mechanism for your job announcements.


36 PROFESSIONAL WOMAN’S MULTICULTURAL MAGAZINE


CELEBRATING 11 YEARS OF DIVERSITY


WWW.PROFESSIONALWOMANMAG.COM


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