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Resource Guide: Employer Engagement

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Many employers seem to have a positive and willing attitude in hiring and managing workers with disabilities but may hesitate because of a lack of knowledge and training on disability rights and inclusion. By reaching out and engaging with employers, vocational rehabilitation counselors can bridge the gap between employers who seek qualified employees and job seekers with disabilities who seek quality employment.

Vocational rehabilitation professionals may be uncomfortable reaching out to employers due to a lack of training and experience. But, by using training and resources developed specifically for VR professionals, employer engagement can lead to increased quality employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

Here are a few effective employer engagement tips for VR professionals:

  • Understand your audience. Do your research to understand a potential employer’s unique business and hiring needs before contacting them. If you do not understand the employer and job needs, it will be difficult to find the right job candidate. In addition to business-specific needs, employers generally want:
    • Loyal and dedicated employees
    • Reduced operating expenses
    • Increased productivity
    • Lower employee turnover
  • Use best practices when engaging with employers. Be respectful of potential employers’ time by following these best practices:
    • Be solution-oriented and focused on meeting a potential employers’ unique business needs.
    • Focus on the needs of the employer rather than the needs of potential employees.
    • Be brief, to the point, and solution-oriented in all communication.
  • Avoid making statements that could break trust. Although you may want to promise that hiring a person with a disability would not require additional time or expense, be realistic. Although generally true, these statements may not be true in specific cases:
    • Most workers with disabilities require no special accommodations.
    • Majority of employers who made accommodations found the cost to be $500 or less
    • Our services are free!

Source: Business Engagement 101: Understanding Your Audience

Engaging with employers can initially feel uncomfortable to vocational rehabilitation professionals, but with proper training and resources can become a go-to strategy for increasing quality employment outcomes for people with disabilities. We encourage you to use the resources below to get started.

Recommended Resources from TACQE and Partners

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Explore TACQE to get more information and resources on strategies for engaging with employers.

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