Creative Careers | Disability Employment Awareness Month

Creative Careers | Disability Employment Awareness Month

We’ve rounded up tips for employers to help encourage applications from individuals with disabilities. 

An inclusive and diverse workforce can help your organization stand out and reach broader audiences. The Department of Labor reminds us in their guide for building an inclusive workforce that businesses need employees who can adapt to different circumstances and provide fresh ideas. If you’re eager to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace, please utilize the tips and resources below.  

  • Ensure the messaging in your job description clearly states you encourage those with disabilities to apply, and that you will provide reasonable accommodations.
    • Ex. “The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. A diverse staff is critical to our mission to serve all artists. Individuals of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. NYFA’s offices are accessible.”
    • Ex. “Applicants with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.”
    • Examples of reasonable accommodations include providing interpreters, readers, or other personal assistance, modifying job duties, restructuring work sites, providing flexible work schedules or work sites, and providing assistive technology or other workplace adaptive equipment. 
  • The listing description should cover more than just the basic information in order to be a helpful tool for those looking to identify whether or not the position really would be a good match. Learn first steps for creating a comprehensive job description.
    • The description should cover any environmental factors that the individual may encounter (bright or dim lights, noise level, isolated space, etc.).
    • It is helpful to also include a thorough breakdown of the physical requirements (hours per day spent standing, any specific weight that may need to be lifted relating to the job, etc.).
    • The weekly schedule should be stated explicitly, along with any room for flexibility.
  • Ensure software used for applying is available in accessible formats (braille, electronic, large print, etc.) upon request.
  • Provide screen reader software wherever possible for applicants and employees.
  • Use alternatives for communications in interviews, like Skype or other video tools.
  • Improve accessibility of your social media platforms. Learn about best practices for improving social media accessibility.
  • Ensure those participating in the hiring process are aware of when disability-related inquiries are appropriate during the hiring process.

Resources for employers: 

Building an Inclusive Workforce

EARN: Job Descriptions

EEOC: Guidelines on Disability Related Inquires under the ADA

10 Recruitment Tips to Attract People with Disabilities

Inclusive Internship Programs: A How-to Guide for Employers

Improving the Accessibility of Social Media

Department of Labor Disability Resources

Department of Labor Accommodations 

Resources for those looking for accessible employment: 

Department of Labor Video Series

Finding a Job that is Right for You: A Practical Approach to Looking for a Job as a Person with a Disability

Dos and Don’ts of Looking for a Job

Department of Labor Disability Resources

CareerOneStop: Resources & Information to Support Your Successful Employment

– Molly Martin, Account Manager, Classifieds

This post is part of a regular blog series, NYFA Creative Careers. Learn more and share your thoughts by visiting us on Twitter: @nyfacurrent and using the hashtag #NYFACreativeCareers.

Check out NYFA’s Business of Art Directory to read more articles on this topic and others.

Find jobs on NYFA Classifieds.

Image: Takuji Hamanaka (Printmaking/Drawing/Artists’ Books ‘17), Black Rainbow, 2017, water-based woodcut mounted on museum board

Amy Aronoff
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