AFTER Disability Awareness Month: Is Your Business Any Closer to Hiring a Person With a Disability?

Disability Awareness Month

Another National Disability Employment Awareness month (NDEAM) has come and gone, but is your business any closer to integrating the value of including people with disabilities in your workforce? Everyone knows there can be a gap between ‘understanding’ and ‘putting into action.’ What actions are you planning next?

Businesses are now embracing the idea of hiring someone with a disability because, as we at The Sierra Group like to say, “it’s the right thing to do, it makes business sense, and it’s the law”. (The Philadelphia Business Journal and Society for Human Resource Management recently featured our work helping businesses comply).

Yet, many businesses have practical questions and concerns on how to go about doing so. Everybody knows it can and should be done, but many are not sure about how it can be done.

That’s where we come in. We are an employment initiative organization that supports job seekers with disabilities and businesses. We create programs that assist both the individual who needs employment and the hiring managers who want to employ them.

New for HR: Certified Disability Recruiter (CDR) Program

After extensive experience working with the hiring community, advising and providing guidance to resolve their needs and questions, The Sierra Group is pleased to launch a national certification program that will train and certify recruiters who plan to hire an employee who has a disability. It’s called the Certified Disability Recruiter Program.

The program provides the skills that employers have been asking us for regarding hiring, training, awareness, and etiquette. It also provides guidelines, real-world scenarios, and resources for trained participants to incorporate as they set out to add greater inclusion to their hiring process. From a human resources vantage point, having someone certified within a business will help companies actively meet government requirements in a more sustainable manner.

The Sierra Group is uniquely positioned to develop and offer this program because:

  • We are one of the first companies in the U.S. brought in to work with and counsel companies about employing people with disabilities.
  • For the past 25 years, corporations have been hiring us to help them be compliant with laws, mandates, and practices regarding the successful recruitment and inclusion of workers with disabilities.
  • Our job board Recruit Disability is enormously successful in matching employers with job seekers.
  • We have decades of hands on training and accommodation experiences with individuals with all types of disabilities and work histories.

How the Certified Disability Recruiter (CDR) Program Works

We teach businesses actual skills to use during recruitment and onboarding so that they feel ready and knowledgeable to proactively interact in this arena. We provide them with practice scenarios and accommodations that ensure success. We do this through a modular online training program that delivers relevant content as well as real-world/real-office scenarios employers may encounter when working alongside someone who has a visual impairment, quadriplegia, a neurological impairment or other disability. Program participants receive feedback on their answers and must also pass a test to become certified. This program was created to take the unknown out of the process of recruiting and hiring someone with a disability.

The program was designed at the request of many of our current corporate partners – and with the help and input of businesses that have already hired people with disabilities. Given the right resources to accommodate an employee with a disability, the business and the employee can thrive. Sixty-five percent of The Sierra Group employees, myself included, are individuals with disabilities – we truly understand and can relate to what it’s like to work productively alongside someone who just happens to have a disability.

Inclusion at a Crossroads

As we near the end of 2016, we want to be one month, one year – one generation – closer to eradicating the stigma that often comes with having a disability.

Being certified by The Sierra Group – Disability and Employment Leaders – to recruit and hire more people with disabilities is both vital and practical to achieving and sustaining a more inclusive workforce. We hope your company will join with those who have already begun to set the standard for being an inclusive workplace. Let us help you get started.

New for HR: Certified Disability Recruiter (CDR) Program

Janet Fiore is the President of The Sierra Group. For information about the new Certified Disability Recruiter (CDR) Program call 610-992-1011, or email

Janet Fiore