Disability inclusion programs can touch every part of your company, but your employees don’t need to be experienced disability inclusion champions to implement one. Community partnership are available to help your company in a variety of ways.

Partnering with external hiring agencies can help you maximize your program’s success, and help is available at many stages of the process (whether it be talent acquisition or marketing). Look for these potential partners:

Local nonprofit service providers

There are bound to be nonprofit service providers in your area who want to place people with disabilities into full-time jobs (or partner with you at other stages of the process).

Encourage and guide these organizations to form collaborative networks in which a single service provider acts as the primary point of contact between your company and their local network of providers.

National nonprofit partners

On a larger scale, employers who want to replicate national hiring initiatives may find it beneficial to work with a nonprofit partner that can manage the heavy lifting of implementation and local partnership building on the ground.

Some successful national initiatives have engaged a single nonprofit partner to act as a liaison with providers and government agencies, while also helping with planning and coordination as the program grows. The Arc and Easter Seals are two examples of this kind of partner.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federally funded work support and placement program that provides job training, on-the-job support and job placement for people with disabilities. In many cases, companies and local site staff may not come into contact with these agencies until after hiring has started. VR often refers its clients to local service providers who in turn take on responsibility for placing the client with a company in the community. However, in some cases, VR will directly place the applicant with a potential company.

In addition, VR provides job coaches to individuals as well as groups of people with disabilities hired in the same location. Job coaches help with numerous tasks that may crop up on the job and help provide support to new hires.

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR)

CSAVR is a network made up of the 80 Directors who manage the VR programs in every state, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories. CSAVR coordinates the following resources:

National Employment Team (NET): The NET is a national team of VR Business Consultants that provide direct access to employment-ready candidates in the public VR system, and support disability employment specialists in providing services to these candidates. Designed in collaboration with business partners and supported by VR leadership, the NET provides business customers with a range of services – from basic disability training for staff, to pre-employment support, to building a talent pipeline, to retention services, to diversity and compliance strategies, to a range of technical support.

Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP): TAP is an online system that includes both a national pool of VR candidates looking for jobs and a job posting system for businesses interested in hiring people with disabilities, as well as directly linking in VR counselors in the process to support. TAP also supports Virtual Job Fairs that include people with disabilities from across the U.S.

Disability employment and inclusion consultants

Experts in the field can play a strategic consulting role in the planning and implementation phases of hiring initiatives, and be turned to for assessment needs and ongoing technical support.

Disability employment and inclusion consultants may come from private firms, nonprofit partners, or be provided by a funding organization, such as a foundation, that partners with consultants when funding company-specific national employment initiatives.

Whichever of these services your company partners with will be specific to your needs and scope, but the diversity of resources available can be an invaluable resource in supporting your program’s scope.

Now that you’ve established your goals, stakeholders, and readiness, it’s time to think through your implementation steps and establish your timeline.

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