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Strategies for Including People with Disabilities in the Green Jobs Talent Pipeline

On December 16, 2009, the NTAR Leadership Center in partnership with ODEP sponsored a roundtable to bring together thought leaders and entrepreneurial problem solvers to develop recommendations to ensure people with disabilities are included in the emerging energy efficiency and renewable energy workforce talent pipelines. The event was attended by over 50 individuals with expertise in workforce development, green jobs, disability employment, sector strategies, and economic development. The participants represented labor unions, the employer community, advocates for people with disabilities and other populations such as veterans and ex-offenders, as well as local, state, and federal policymakers.

Products:

Roundtable Proceedings
Invitation Letter from U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Kathleen Martinez

Selected Background Materials
Welcome Letter
Speaker Information
Ann Randazzo’s presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint, Rich Text Format, and PDF
Dennis Torbett's presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint, Rich Text Format, and PDF
Anastasia Urtz's presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint, Rich Text Format, and PDF
Joe Carbone's presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint, Rich Text Format, and PDF
Karen McColloh's discussion materials in Microsoft Word and PDF

National Research Study, "Ready and Able: Addressing Labor Market Needs and Building Productive Careers for People with Disabilities - Models for Innovation"

To support its work, the NTAR Leadership Center conducted a national research effort to identify successful employer-initiated and market-driven efforts to employ people with disabilities. The intent of the research was to determine what’s working, why it’s working, and how it could be replicated to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The first step in the research process was a review of the literature on successful employer-initiated and market-driven initiatives. This literature review indicated that many of the nation’s leading companies have successfully implemented initiatives to recruit, hire, and retain employees with disabilities. The review further found that while these companies certainly exhibited compassion for people with disabilities, their initiatives were predicated on the “business case” for hiring people with disabilities. Elements of the business case include higher reliability, lower turnover, attracting customers with disabilities, and projected shortages of skilled workers. At its core, the business case asserts that recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees with disabilities results in a positive impact on the employer’s bottom line.

The literature review also found that even employers that accept the business case do not necessarily have knowledge of strategies to recruit, train, and support employees with disabilities. Further, they do not want to have to learn the complex systems that serve people with disabilities nor develop relationships with a large number of local agencies in order to get referrals of qualified job seekers with disabilities. To address this potential barrier, many of the employers that had successful disability employment hiring strategies developed partnerships with local workforce and disability services entities that serve as intermediaries in the recruitment, training, and retention of employees with disabilities. These partnerships typically involve a “single point of contact” that coordinates the activities and services of agencies in the workforce and disability services systems. In short, these intermediaries provide employers with access to qualified, skilled employees with disabilities with supports arranged by the single entity.

The NTAR Leadership Center was impressed by the potential for intermediaries to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Accordingly, the Center decided to focus its research of promising practices on intermediaries that facilitate employers to recruit, hire, and retain employees with disabilities. The study provides an in-depth review of intermediaries, identified in the literature and by national experts as successful and promising, to expand the body of knowledge on how partnerships are developed, how they operate, how they respond to employer needs, and how they provide ongoing supports to employers.

The NTAR Leadership Center identified over a dozen diverse partnerships nationwide that have been successful in supporting employers to recruit, hire, and retain people with disabilities. The study report will contain chapters with detailed information on each partnership. The primary sources of information for the study are firsthand accounts of representatives from the employer and workforce/disability services sides of the respective partnerships.

The partnerships studied include both local and national partnerships. They include partnerships that serve one employer and ones that serve multiple employers. The partnerships serve people with a broad range of disabilities and assist employers across various sectors of the labor market. Additionally, diverse entities have assumed the role of single point of contact in the partnerships including public and private disability service agencies, Chambers of Commerce, Business Leadership Network chapters, universities, public school systems, and staffing companies.

The study presents important information to both employers and organizations that serve people with disabilities. The study also provides employers with information on a broad range of options for partnerships that can meet their needs. Employers will also be provided with information from other employers about the assistance they receive from the respective partnerships and the benefits of hiring employees with disabilities.

Organizations that provide services and supports to people with disabilities will be provided with information on how other disability services and workforce entities have come together as partners and coordinated their services in response to employer needs. They will also receive information on how participating in a partnership has created expanded employment opportunities for the people they serve.

The overall goal of the study is to highlight partnerships that establish intermediaries to assist employers as a successful strategy for the recruitment, hiring, and retention of employees with disabilities. It is hoped that these stories of success will be a catalyst for broad replications that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Products:

Note for JAWS users: Please change Adobe settings to "Read Currently Visible Pages" for headings and links lists.

Complete Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
Introduction (PDF)
Chapter 1: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom: National Employer Collaborations (PDF)
Chapter 2: Winning Together: A Sector Strategy Model (PDF)
Chapter 3: Preferred Solutions: How Job Brokers for People with Disabilities Meet Employer Needs (PDF)
Chapter 4: Career Tracks: Placing Skilled College Students and Graduate with Disabilities through Partnerships between Employers, Colleges and Universities, and Intermediaries (PDF)
Chapter 5: Bridging Workforce Gaps: Hiring People with Disabilities through Local and Regional Collaboratives (PDF)
Chapter 6: Catalysts: Business-Affiliated Organizations Leading Disability and Employment Partnerships (PDF)
Conclusion (PDF)
Endnotes (PDF)
Reader's Guide to Terms and Governmental Systems Used in this Report (PDF)
Appendix: List of Interviews (PDF)