An Untapped Resource...

Posted on Feb. 11, 2020  /  Serving the Professional  /   0

Are you looking for candidates to fill your open opportunities?  Are you struggling with finding the right candidate?  A lot of us are saying this everyday and with our unemployment rate fluctuating between 2.3% and 2.7%, it is a constant challenge filling those positions.

My question to you is – have you considered employing a person with a disability?  This is such an untapped resource that many overlook.  The unemployment rate for persons with a disability has been up to 3 higher than for a person without a disability.

The goal for any hire should be the best candidate for the job.  Per Chin Lee, Junior Specialist at University of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies, “People with disabilities should be given the same opportunity to work and contribute to your workplace. Hire for skills, not the person’s disability. And when we provide accommodation/accessibility, it allows us to tap into everyone’s potential.”

We should be looking at a person’s ABILITY and not a disability.  "There are at least five big reasons to hire workers with disabilities:  they are dependable, productive, motivated and they make for a more inclusive diverse company. And that benefits everyone!" states Annie Moriyasu, Education Specialist at University of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies.

Here are a few considerations to increase your success when looking to hire a person with a disability:

  • Register with The Workforce Recruitment Program which is managed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense. This program allows employers to register and be connected with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities.

  • Post your open positions at the American Job Center (HireNet)

  • Contact University of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies

  • Partner or become a member of disability-related advocacy organizations such as Disability:IN

  • Highlighting persons with a disability in your recruitment materials

I wanted to also give some helpful hints when preparing to set up an interview with a person who tells you they have a disability:

  • Ask the candidate what accommodation they would need, if any, for the interview

  • If the candidate needs any special assistance (i.e. an interpreter), find out from the candidate if they will make the arrangements or if you need to

  • Make sure the space you are using for the interview is ADA compliant and appropriate

If you have not previously considered hiring a person with a disability, I hope you will consider it now.  There are many educated, passionate, worthwhile people that are waiting for you to give them an opportunity to show you how that can add to your business’ success.  Instead of looking at a person’s disability – try looking at their ABILITY.

Here are some useful resources for questions and support:

American Job Center Hawaii – Oahu

  • Dillingham Plaza, 1505 Dillingham Blvd., Rm. 110, Honolulu, HI 96817

    Telephone: (808) 768-5701

American Job Center Hawaii – Maui

  • Maui
    70 E. Kaahumanu Avenue B-9, Kahului, HI 96732

    Telephone: (808) 270-5777

American Job Center Hawaii – Hawaii Island

  • Hilo
    427 Kilauea Avenue, Hilo, HI 96720

    Telephone: (808) 935-6527

American Job Center Hawaii – Kauai

  • Lihue
    4444 Rice St. #302, Lihue, HI  96766

    Telephone: (808) 274-3056

Disability:IN – Oahu Chapter
Contact:  Sean Sullivan, [email protected]

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
(800) 526-7234 (VOICE) OR (877) 781-9403 (TTY)

Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)

Vocational and Rehabilitation Agency
Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division
Phone: (808) 586-5275; TTY: (808) 586-5288

The Workforce Recruitment Program

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