5 Best Practices For Recruiting Students With Disabilities

By Elana Goodwin on February 20, 2016
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The college enrollment rate for students with disabilities has been on the rise in recent years, which means it’s more important than ever to implement successful practices to recruit students with disabilities to work at your business — whether it’s a part-time college job or full-time post-grad career.

Students with disabilities may have impairments ranging from neurological conditions to mental illness to behavioral disorders and more. Here are some of the best ways you can recruit students with disabilities.

Photo Credit: mdc.edu

1. Use inclusive language.

When it comes to recruiting students with disabilities, it helps to have your brochures, website, and social media channels use inclusive and welcoming language that specifically mentions people with disabilities. In job descriptions and online postings, make sure to convey that students with disabilities are welcomed and encouraged to apply and that accommodations can be made for interviews, applications, and job expectations if necessary.

Convey to students with disabilities that your organization appreciates and strives for inclusion and diversity and that managers are trained to work with fellow employees that have disabilities. Specify if your office is wheelchair-friendly, if you can provide your job application forms in other formats, and other accommodations, so students with disabilities know you take your ability to hire and welcome students with a disability seriously and understand what they may require.

2. Work with campus organizations.

Working with campus career services and disability services to publicize your business’s job opportunities for students with disabilities will go a long way in helping get the word out about your company’s inclusion of employees with disabilities. While not all students with disabilities register at their campus’s disability services center, the majority do, so the staff will be able to help you find students with disabilities who are looking for jobs and be able to assist you in communicating to students that your business is disability-inclusive.

Connecting with student groups aimed at and for students with disabilities will also help you advertise your company’s disability-friendly policies and they may help you in your recruitment efforts by emailing members of their group about your job opportunities.

3. Market employees with disabilities.

If you want your company to be known for hiring students and people with disabilities, consider using employees with disabilities in your marketing materials. Feature pictures of staff members with disabilities on your website and in brochures. Use quotes from employees with disabilities about their experiences at the company in your marketing materials.

You can even have employees with disabilities attend campus job fairs and conduct interviews with potential student employees with disabilities so students know staff with disabilities are important parts of the organization and that they can do everything at the company as well.

4. Expand your presence.

Join social media groups aimed at students and job-seekers with disabilities, such as the LinkedIn groups “Disability Student Services Professionals,” “Diversity and Disability@Work,” and “Professionals with Disabilities” to expand your presence online. Reach out to local and regional organizations that are run by or that work with people with disabilities so they can not only help you recruit students with disabilities, but also provide you with information and resources about accommodating students with disabilities.

You’ll also want to have employees with disabilities at your company connect with students with disabilities to tell them about their experiences at your business and to network.

5. Post on disability-targeting job sites.

Some of the best resources available to people with disabilities are employment programs and job databases that are specifically geared towards those who have disabilities and are looking for employment. Programs like the Emerging Leaders Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities, Entry Point, and the Workforce Recruitment Program all aim to recruit college students with disabilities and help them find great internships and jobs across the country.

Recruiters should also post disability-friendly opportunities on sites like the Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD) Career Gateway, GettingHired, ABILITY Jobs, and other similar websites.

Recruiting students with disabilities to work at your company is a great thing — but make sure you are fully equipped to accommodate whatever those students might need in order for them to be contributing and fulfilling employees.
And if you’re completely ready to hire a student with disabilities and want your efforts to be successful, keep these practices in mind, as they will help you accomplish your recruitment goals.
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By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
Ohio State
I love reading, writing, and sweater weather. Also, dogs. That is all. Follow me on Twitter at @EllaRayy!

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