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Resources for Employers

Learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance individuals with disabilities!

NCD Disability in the Workforce

Source: National Council on Disability

A Better Bottom Line: APSE believes that a strong economy is fueled by all Americans working and contributing to the bottom line. As an employer, people with disabilities represent an untapped talent pool to help you expand and enhance your business.

Disability in the Workforce: At 79%, people with disabilities have the highest rate of unemployment or underemployment.

The Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities

Return on Investment: Employers see $28.69Return on Investment average return for every dollar invested in accommodations.

Marketing Opportunities: Customers with disabilities and their families, friends and associates represent a $3 TRILLION market segment. Additionally, 87% of customers say they would prefer to patronize businesses that hire employees with disabilities.1

Reduced employee turnover: The turnover rate for employees with disabilities is 8% compared to 45% for other workers.2

Qualified Applicants: In 2012, approximately 31% of persons with a disability aged 21-64 had some college or an associates’ degree compared to 33% of the same population without a disability. 3

Additional Tax Incentives

There are great tax benefits available for employers who hire employees with disabilities, including:

  • Small Business Tax Credit – 50% credit for expenditures between $250 and $10,250.
  • Architectural/Transportation Tax Deduction – up to $15,000 per year.
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit – federal tax credit reducing employers’ federal income tax liability by as much as $2,400 per qualified new worker.

Section 503: What does it mean for you?

On September 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a Final Rule in the Federal Register that makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. With these new rules, private businesses that do business with the federal government (which is well over 20% of businesses) will be undertaking increased efforts to actively recruit and employ individuals with disabilities. As a federal contractor/sub-contractor, you may be asking how to improve your success with employing and retaining individuals with disabilities. As an organization exclusively focused on employment of individuals with disabilities, we can serve as an important resource to assist employers to meet these new requirements through identification of qualified job candidates, and assistance and supports to ensure these individuals succeed on the job.

Highlights of the New Section 503 Rules

    • 7% Employment Goal: Federal contractors and subcontractors will now have a goal that 7% of individuals in each job group in their workforce consist of qualified individuals with disabilities.
    • Data Collection: Contractors will be required to track data on the number of individuals with disabilities who apply for jobs and are hired.
    • Compliance Enforcement: Contractors must allow the federal government to review documents to ensure they are complying with these new regulations.
    • Affirmative Action Requirements: The regulations specify a series of requirements for federal contractors to ensure they are maximizing their efforts to recruit, hire, and provide career advancement to individuals with disabilities, including outreach to an array of disability organizations.
    • Invitation to Self-Identify: In order to track recruitment efforts, under the new rules, federal contractors can now ask job applicants to voluntarily self-identify as an individual with a disability prior to receiving a job offer and after they have received a job offer. Additionally, current employees will be asked to voluntarily identify themselves as individuals with disabilities every 5 years. It will be critical to monitor the implementation of these voluntary self-disclosures requirements to ensure that the rights of individuals with disabilities to non-disclosure under the American’s with Disabilities continue to be respected.

When Do the New Regulations Go Into Effect?

The new Section 503 regulations became effective on March 24, 2014. However, contractors with a written affirmative action program already in place on the effective date have additional time to come into compliance with the AAP requirements.

Additional Information

Additional resources:

Guidance Documents for Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act: These non-regulatory guidance documents provide technical assistance and serve as resources for state and local governments to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Employers and the ADA: Myths & Facts

Employer Tips on Interviewing Applicants with Disabilities

Myths and Facts about People with Disabilities

Employing People with Disabilities, What Small Companies Need to Know

Building a Competitive Edge: Recruiting and Hiring People with Disabilities

Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN): EARN supports employers in recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing qualified individuals with disabilities through confidential, no-cost:

  • Consultation and technical assistance,
  • Customized training,
  • Comprehensive online resources, and
  • Links to state and local community-based organizations serving job seekers with disabilities.
  • EARN is part of the National Employer Technical Assistance, Policy, and Research Center at Cornell University funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor.


1. Siperstein, Romano, Mohler, Parker; “A national survey of consumer attitudes towards companies that hire people with disabilities”; University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA; Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation; 2005.

2. 2003 Crain’s Chicago Business Survey; Washington Mutual, Inc. Study.

3. Erickson, W., Lee, C., and von Schrader, S. (2014). Disability Statistics from the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Employment and Disability Institute (EDI). Retrieved October 15, 2014 from

U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability and Employment Policy