On March 24, 2014, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) implemented new Section 503 regulations for federal contractors. Contractors with more than 100 employees are now required to set an aspirational goal to achieve a workforce inclusive of 7 percent of individuals with disabilities in each job category, while businesses with fewer than 100 employees will apply that goal across their workforce as a whole. Contractors covered under Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) are required to establish an 8 percent benchmark for hiring individuals defined as “protected veterans,” with the option of establishing benchmarks based on regional workforce data at each location of operation. Across the nation, contractors have started or are working to start implementing the new requirements, and are utilizing resources such as the Employer Assistance and Resource Network. These new regulations are a game changer as they require a nationwide utilization goal, accountability through self-audit to measure progress and correct any discriminatory practice. It also enables federal contractors to self-examine their employment practices and discover unintentional barriers that may be preventing people with disabilities from entering and remaining in the workforce. Some key elements of an inclusive workplace:
- Disability Recruitment and Community Outreach: Build relationships with key disability and veterans organizations in the community to facilitate candidate referrals; guidance on reasonable accommodations; and access to technical assistance and resources. Outreach and recruitment strategies are vitally important to contractor compliance, and will be helpful in building a successful evaluation and assessment program as part of a contractor’s overall recruitment efforts. It is imperative that contractors… Click here to read the article in full at www.abilitymagazine.com.