- Hire new people with hearing loss and other significant disabilities by July 26, 2016 who:
- Receive Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Ticket to Work, Veterans Affairs (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment, or American Job Center services.
- Receive special education services in high school or disability-related services in college;
- Take part in the Workforce Recruitment Program;
- Work in sheltered workshops or other community rehabilitation programs; and/or
- Receive services from Centers for Independent Living.
- Get a commitment from top company leadership. Hold a disability awareness event where the CEO or other senior managers speak openly about their commitment to recruiting hiring, retaining, and promoting people with disabilities. Bring in workers from local hearing loss organizations to share their workplace experiences.
- Host a disability mentoring day at your company. Work with local schools, disability organizations, and VR providers to help plan the event. Encourage senior leadership to get involved.
- Connect with local HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America), ALDA (Association of Late-Deafened Adults), NAD (National Association of the Deaf) chapters, deaf services centers and commissions, and other disability advocacy organizations. Let them know your business needs and goals. Find out ways they can help implement or improve your disability employment program.
- Partner with a local sheltered workshop or community rehabilitation program, independent living center, Vocational Rehabilitation agency, Veterans Affairs (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment program office, Employment Network, disability advocacy organization, high school special education program, and/or college disability student center for upcoming hiring needs. Let them know what jobs you have and find out how these partners can help you to recruit qualified job seekers with disabilities.
Finding and Recruiting Qualified Applicants with Hearing Loss and Other Disabilities
- Make sure your online job application process is accessible for people with disabilities.
- Develop paid internship, apprenticeship, and/or on-the-job training programs for individuals with disabilities.
- Invest in the future. Keep the resumes of people with disabilities who you don’t hire. Reconsider those candidates for the next opening and share their resumes with your colleagues.
Respecting, Retaining, and Promoting People with Hearing Loss and Other Disabilities
- Start or expand an employee resource group for employees with disabilities.
- Start a reverse or reciprocal mentoring program. Connect senior leadership with employees with disabilities to learn about and from each other.
- Develop and implement a mentoring program for employees with disabilities. Integrate this program into existing diversity mentoring programs.
Change Your Workplace’s Culture
- Stress the value you place on people with disabilities as employees and customers. Ensure that people with disabilities are included in your overall diversity strategy. Publicize this information on your external website, social media, and other company materials.
- Challenge stereotypes and change workplace culture by profiling senior staff members and managers who are people with disabilities. Doing so will create a workplace where employees with disabilities feel confident, open, and proud of who they are and what they contribute to your company’s bottom line.
- Educate and train human resource professionals, talent acquisition staff, and supervisory staff on recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting people with disabilities. Integrate trainings with existing employee and management staff development programs.
- Utilize services offered by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and the Employee Assistance Resource Network (EARN). Both JAN and EARN provide free customized training and consultation services for employers.
- Develop and implement a reasonable accommodations process.
- Create a centralized fund for reasonable accommodation, which will allow supervisors to make determinations regarding accommodations without regard to budgetary impact.
- Train supervisors and human resource professionals on the benefits of using publicly-funded supported employment services, such as job coaches.
- Develop a tailored on-boarding program for new employees with disabilities that includes information on topics such as reasonable accommodation procedures and orientation materials that are in accessible formats.
- Ensure employee training and professional development programs – onsite and online – are inclusive of people with disabilities. Make sure these programs are accessible and that reasonable accommodations will be provided if needed.
- Train Employee Assistance Program (EAP) staff to assist employees with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities in navigating work incentives planning, Medicaid, and other disability related services.
Change the Employment Landscape for People with Hearing Loss and Other Disabilities
- Mentor and learn from other companies about how to recruit hire, retain, and promote people with disabilities. Reach out to subject matter experts for ways to make your workplace hearing-friendly and welcoming to people of diverse abilities.
- Leverage your procurement process to give preference to disability-owned businesses.
- Find out if your business contracts with sheltered workshops or other community rehabilitation programs paying subminimum wage. If they are, move those employees in-house and pay them comparable wages. Work with the organization to develop other competitive integrated employment opportunities.
- Set and achieve measurable goals. Track and share your success with other businesses, industry liaison groups, disability advocates, and your local newspaper.
Adapted from 2015 White House Summit on Disability Employment held earlier this year
For workplace hearing loss awareness training assistance, please reach out to ACS Business Development Manager Valerie Stafford-Mallis. Valerie@acscaptions.com Training can be developed that meets the needs of your particular workplace and is available at no charge.