Addressing the 13%

by Terri Swain

The US Department of Labor states that the unemployment rate for the disabled is 13% – 1.5x the rate of those without disabilities.  In order to address that high rate, the OFCCP is proposing a 7% disability hiring goal for Affirmative Action employers – strengthening the Rehabilitation Act. Visit the federal e-rulemaking portal at

The problem as we see it:

  • Difficulty in capturing disability status in the pre-employment process from a reluctance on the applicant’s part to self – identify as being disabled.
  • The necessity for revising ATS’s to include this information – which is typically captured post hire vs. pre hire. Current disability and Veteran status is usually captured voluntarily post hire and is therefore, on an HRIS (human resource information system) vs. an ATS (applicant tracking system).
  • Potential conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – collecting this data in the applicant process creates a per se violation of the ADA.  If you don’t collect this data in the applicant process, how can you quantify your efforts?

The opportunity as we see it:

Employing both Disabled and Veterans can make excellent business sense.  Meaningful good faith efforts (GFEs) should focus on both of these segments.

  • If your organization is near a military base, or military hospital, develop a relationship for potential placement in your organization.
  • Identify organizations in your community that assist and rehabilitate people with disabilities and develop a relationship with them.  They often offer assistance with accommodations and placement.

The agency is still accepting public comments, so stay tuned!