The specific needs of your business—your job types at your facility, the required skills and the number of people you want to hire—are key considerations when you’re choosing which agency to partner with. Once you’re armed with a list of local agencies, you’ll want to asses which services they offer, and which of those best match your needs.

In many cases, you’ll work with more than one agency in order to ensure a good cross section of talent and abilities, and to obtain the number of new hires, interns or peak-time employees you need. And some agencies do more than just provide job candidates who have disabilities; they also offer training, job coaching and ongoing project management support.

Regardless, you should hold every agency to the same standards that you would any vendor (even though you might not be paying for the non-profit agency’s services). Make it clear that you expect them to help you fill a business need by securing the very best talent for your job openings.

This list of items to assess when reviewing service providers can help you pick the right partner(s) for your program:

1. Mission/Vision

What does the agency hope to achieve? For example, some agencies are about family support, work or community projects. Be sure you understand each agency’s mission and focus. Does the agency define success the same way your company does? Do they recognize the same performance standards?

2.  Work or Work Readiness Training

The goal of an agency’s work readiness training should be integrated employment—finding work for its clients in the local community. After all, your disability employment program is about hiring people to work at your facilities alongside other employees.

3.  Placements

How many people with disabilities were placed in competitive work last year? Does this indicate an ability to meet your company’s hiring needs?

4.  Part-Time/Full-Time

Does the agency make both part-time and full-time placements?

5.  Tenure

What’s the average tenure for each placement?

6.  Training

What type of training does the agency offer employers (e.g., disability awareness and sensitivity, working with job coaches, etc.)?

7.  Business Services

What services does the agency offer to employees beyond training? And will they help with disability accommodation assessments for employees who are not “their” clients?

8.  Community Collaboration

Does/will the agency work with others in the community to fill your hiring needs? Many agencies can be “turf-focused,” so this is an important item to evaluate.

9.  On-the-Job Support

Will the agency send a support person or “job coach” to help people with disabilities acclimate to a new job, if needed? How long can that support continue? If the employee starts to struggle months into the job, will the agency send help?

10.  Employer References

What other companies have worked with the agency on staffing needs? Get letters of reference from those companies, or call and ask questions about the agency’s ability to meet business needs. If you’re not sure which companies have worked with this agency, a local US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) affiliate may be able to provide helpful information.

11.  Relationship with State Vocational Rehabilitation Services

How does the agency relate to state and local VR services?


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