Planning for Equal Employment Opportunities

Three pictures: one shows an engineer with a helmet operating tools. Another shows a circle of people reaching out to each other. The third shows a wheelchair user with a laptop computer talking with three colleagues, all of whom are standing and leaning over to see the screen of the laptop.

Although unemployment among people with disabilities is often high, some places have successfully increased employment rates. Choosing the right mix of policies, programs, and activities can help. But there are also programs that have not gone well. Reviewing what others have done and replicating some of the best practices can help avoid or reduce the risk of failure.

The United States—like most other countries—confronts its own challenges in reducing unemployment among workers with disabilities. Poorly designed programs in the United States, like poorly designed programs anywhere, have only wasted money. But the best ones have helped significantly to increase employment rates.

The publication Disability Employment First Planning Tool reviews some of the best practices from across the United States. Although its content is U.S.-specific, some of the general concepts could be creatively adapted for varying contexts in other countries. It is meant to help governments, workforce development agencies, vocational rehabilitation agencies, and others in developing a plan for integrating people with disabilities in the competitive workforce. This publication may help in considering how to:

  • Make the best of limited resources
  • Find and support businesses that are already making an effort to employ people with disabilities
  • Prepare youth with disabilities for successful careers
  • Provide employers with a pipeline of skilled workers with disabilities
  • Be a model employer by increasing the number of people with disabilities working in government

This document was created by RespectAbility, Best Buddies, The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and National Organization on Disability (NOD).