NOTE: This is a guest blog by a good friend. Judy Owen owner of Opportunity Works, Inc. a Florida based full-service staffing company that brings a motivated and diverse workforce to our customers. Our focus on employing people with disabilities brings value and diversity to the workforce of our customers like no one else. Contact us today to learn how we can help complete your team.
Judy is also a regular blogger on Forbes. Here is a link to her Forbes blog.
We are delighted to have our friend Judy as a guest blogger. Thank you Judy.
Nearly two years ago, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposed rule to strengthen the U.S. Rehabilitation Act with regards to employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Finally, last week the rule was finalized. This new rule sets an aggressive 7% hiring goal of people with disabilities for all federal contractors. Not only do they need hiring goals they need to take on appropriate outreach and recruitment activities to demonstrate efforts to meet the goal.
This should bring a flurry of activity in to organizations named as examples of partners for outreach and recruitment activities, such as the nationwide network of centers for independent living, the state divisions of vocational rehabilitation and much to my surprise, “private recruitment sources, such as professional organizations or employment placement services that specialize in the placement of individuals with disabilities.” That means they’ve included companies like mine, Opportunity Works in the mix. This is great news! Not just because it can help my sales efforts. It’s great because two years ago, companies like mine didn’t exist. There are now just four staffing companies in the U.S. with a specific focus on recruiting people with disabilities. So, to see signs of our existence is exciting and hopefully we are here to stay and really can have an impact on the employment of people with disabilities.
Federal contractors have 120 days from commencement of a contract to get an affirmative action policy and procedures in place to comply with this new rule. In Florida that means over 14,000 companies now need to take action to comply. Many companies, especially larger ones, have started working to prepare for this rule already. Many more contractors will need help getting everything done. I hope my company is poised to provide support, but I hope all of the service providers around the state are watching out too. This is a boon of opportunity to prove the value of including disability in the work place. We read all the time about all of the people with disabilities who want to work… now is our chance to ensure we match them up to jobs they will cherish and get them out there working!