Talent Has No Boundaries: An Employer’s Guide to the Workforce Recruitment Program
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Talent Has No Boundaries: An Employer’s Guide to the Workforce Recruitment Program

Lauren Karas: Hello
everyone, and welcome to Talent Has No Boundaries: An
Employer’s Guide to Recruiting and Retaining Individuals
with Disabilities for the 2015 Workforce
Recruitment Program. Webinar Logistics:
Questions for our experts should be emailed to [email protected] The entire webinar will also
be placed on the website at www.dol.gov/odep/wrp.>>Patrick Cokley: We’ll be
joined by two hosts for this webinar. Your first host is myself. My name is Patrick Cokley. I’m co-director of the
Workforce Recruitment Program. WRP is jointly run between the
Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor and the
Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity at
the Department of Defense, and I have the opportunity
to share that leadership. I am a graduate of
Howard University and excited to talk to
you today.>>Lauren Karas: My
name is Lauren Karas. I’m a business development
specialist at the Office of Disability Employment
Policy at the US. Department of Labor,
and my main responsibility is assisting Patrick in the
management of the WRP, and I am a graduate
of Elon University.>>Patrick Cokley: So this
webinar is part of the Workforce Recruitment Program Series
of Outreach and Educational Activities that we’ve developed
for employers looking for talented, productive employees
whose skills and knowledge will support and enhance your agency’s
mission and goals. WRP offers free
tools, education, and resources to help employers
find and advance employment of people with disabilities. Today we’ll start talking a
little bit about WRP’s purpose, its history and how it works. We will discuss resources
available to assist employers who hire from the program, and
give tips on how to use WRP’s website to find
extraordinary talent. We’ll also give you some advice
on how to efficiently provide effective reasonable
accommodations at your worksite for employees with disabilities. Some background on the Workforce
Recruitment Program: It was originally started in the 1970s
by the Department of the Navy. In 1995, the program was
expanded by the Department of Defense and
the President’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities,
which soon became the Office of Disability Employment Policy. It is now managed jointly
by the DODs Office of Diversity Management and
Equal Opportunity, and the Department of Labor’s
Office of Disability Employment Policy. The Workforce Recruitment
Program is a free recruitment and referral program. It connects employers
with highly motivated, postsecondary students
and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager
to prove their abilities. It’s a great tool to address low
participation rate and may be utilized to fill temporary
and permanent needs. Many people consider the
WRP an internship program, but is actually something that
you can use year round to fill employee spots in your agencies. The screening process: The
Workforce Recruitment Program uses an intricate process to
make sure that you have the best candidates available
for employment. In October and November, over
150 federal recruiters are mobilized to conduct phone
interviews with students at over 300 college campuses
nationwide using interviews, resumes and transcripts, the
recruiter’s rate the applicants on a scale of 1 to 5 in three
areas: communication, direction, and qualifications. Each candidate also
receives an overall rating. Candidates must receive a
rating of three or higher to be included in the
WRP database. Once the interviews
are complete, the database is open to all
registered employers nationwide in early December. Candidates in the database
are active for one year. The pool of candidates available
are nationwide and in a wide variety of career fields;
meaning that you can find someone in any part
of the United States. There’s even some candidates
that are interested in working abroad at military
facilities internationally. In addition to the ratings, the
WRP database contains contact info, degree, major, GPA,
location preference, interview notes, the candidates
resumes, transcripts, and potential
accommodation needs. Employers can use this site to
hire candidates for summer or temporary positions
throughout the year, as well as permanent positions. And for your interns,
the Computer Electronic Accommodations Program will
provide the accommodations for them.>>Lauren Karas: Getting
started: To register as an employer user, go to www.wrp.gov
and click on the register now link on the WRP homepage. Complete the information
form and click submit. Once your registration
is approved, you’ll receive log in
information via an email from [email protected] Return to www.wrp.gov and log in
with your login and temporary password. Your login will be your
primary email address. The system will prompt you
to create a password of your choosing. Once you log in, go to the
employer tools page and select search
student database. You are now in search mode.>>Patrick Cokley: Here is a
brief shot of the homepage, located at www.wrp.gov. This will always be the main
page for you to visit to either log in or also find additional
information about the Workforce Recruitment Program, as well
as get some generic contact information if you
need any assistance.>>Lauren Karas: Next, we have a
screenshot of the employer tools homepage. The links on the left-hand side
of the page are listed below and each link has a description
on the right side of the page, so essentially this is the
primary place you can go to actively search the database.>>Patrick Cokley: So once
you log in to the Workforce Recruitment Program database,
and click on search for selected students, you’ll be taken to
the WRP database search page. It’s from this point in the
website where you will be able to find candidates
for employment based on the particular needs
that you have. You’ll be able to search for
students by their first name or last name, their student ID
number, the school attended, their academic major,
their graduation date, as well as whether or not
to have veteran status. There’s also fields for you to
search by their interview notes, or their resume as well, and in
addition to the location where they are located. On this page you will be able to
run multiple searches to find the particular
candidates that you need, and ensure that the skill
sets that you require are represented in
the students.>>Lauren Karas: The WRP
database search page: You can search, as Patrick said, based
on major, veterans status, location preference,
school name, degree, and various other factors. Resume search capability allows
you to search each candidates resume for key words such as,
top-secret, technical terms, specific majors or
specific skills needed.>>Patrick Cokley: Now once
you’ve made your selections, you’ll be able to view any
students that you’re interested in on the manage
selected students page. This makes it so that if you
are doing multiple searches, or if there’s many people in
your organization searching at one time, you’ll be able to
have a list of all of the students that you’re
interested in looking at and go back to them later on. To add students to the manage
selected students page, you simply click on select
student when looking at them in your search function, and you
will find them all later listed for you on manage
selected students. In addition to providing you the
resource to search for qualified talent with disabilities,
we also ask that you, as federal employers, report
back to us when you have success in hiring our candidates. You can do this on the edit
hiring information page. On this page, as we see a
screenshot of right now, you’ll be able to report back if
you’re interviewing a candidate, if you have offered
a candidate a job, and if that candidate
has accepted a position. This data will help us make
the WRP a better program, and make sure that you have more
qualified candidates in the years to come. Every candidate in the Workforce
Recruitment Program is eligible under the schedule A
appointing authority. Schedule A is a method to
non-competitively appoint and convert people with
intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities,
or psychiatric disabilities, to a permanent, temporary or
time-limited appointments. A posting is not required. The authority is
written broadly, so don’t limit yourself, and
schedule A is not only limited to individuals that simply
have targeted disabilities. Now another method of
employment for individuals with disabilities is of course the
Pathways program and normally there are a lot of
questions about how WRP and Pathways can work together. The use of Pathways does not
prevent you from using the WRP candidates without posting
a vacancy announcement. Hiring diverse candidates
should be part of your agencies strategic hiring plan
and generally speaking, when a hiring manager wants
to hire a student or recent graduate, they have two options
for hiring authorities. Schedule A for people
with disabilities, or schedule D, the
Pathways program. In both cases, they can use
the WRP database to identify qualified candidates for
their application pools. Here’s how you do it. If hiring managers want to use
the schedule A hiring authority to hire a person
with a disability, they can recruit directly from
the WRP database without having to publicly post the position. The agency or hiring manager
would search the WRP database for qualified candidates and
then contact them directly with job opportunities. They can verify their
eligibility to be hired via schedule A in accordance
with the regulations. And most students who
participate in that the WRP will already have their
own schedule A letter. Now if hiring managers
want to use schedule D or the Pathways program, they
can still use the WRP database to locate qualified candidates. In this case, the agency or
hiring manager will publicly post the position and follow
all schedule D rules and regulations. But then they would search the
date the WRP database as a means of targeted outreach and
contact qualified candidates, encouraging them to apply to
their position be via USAJobs for the publicly
posted position.>>Lauren Karas:
Reasonable accommodations: Agencies are required to have
written reasonable accommodations procedures. Employers are required
to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified
individuals with disabilities, both applicants and employees. It is an individual’s
responsibility to inform the employer of their
disability and request a reasonable accommodation. You must provide assistance
or make changes to enable the worker to do the job. For example, you may have to
lower the height of a desktop for a worker in a wheelchair or
provide telephone equipment for the hearing impaired.>>Patrick Cokley: You
might also provide a quiet, distraction free
workplace for a worker with attention deficit disorder. The thing to remember with
reasonable accommodations is that these are tools that are
designed to make sure that your worker can do the best work that
they can do and give you the best product that
they can offer.>>Lauren Karas: Reasonable
accommodations: Dialogue with your worker to find effective
and practical solutions. It’s an interactive process. Ensure accommodations
requested are in place the day the new employee
starts on duty. Resources are
available to help. There’s the Job
Accommodation Network, which is a free and
confidential service. There’s the Computer Electronic
Accommodations Program, or CAP, which provides free assistive
technology for your interns, as well as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission or EEOC.>>Patrick Cokley:
In most cases, your employees will already know
exactly what accommodations they require. However, please feel free to use
any of these services in order to help them work through
the accommodations process. The Job Accommodation Network
and the Computer Electronics Accommodations Program are
exceptionally skilled at helping individuals learn, not only
about accommodations that they use currently, but learning
about new opportunities for equipment that could make
their work even better.>>Lauren Karas: Tips: Ask
candidates if they can perform the essential functions of the
job, not about the disability. Hire into mission-critical
positions. Candidates are qualified to do
much more for the growth of your organization than
just make coffee. Be open to the possibility of
candidates willing to relocate for the right or perfect
position for them. It could be a win-win for both
your agency and the candidate. Ask if candidates need
accommodations prior to their start date. If an accommodation is needed,
process it as quickly as possible. Don’t forget about the Computer
Electronic Accommodations Program, or CAP for short.>>Patrick Cokley: Success
stories: So we wanted to share some success stories that we’ve
had most recently with the Workforce Recruitment Program
and just talk briefly about two of the candidates that have
really come from WRP and have really been successful
in their latest work. The first is Tiffany Jolliff,
who currently works at the Department of Labor in the
Office of Disability Employment Policy. She originally came on as an
intern and she has since then moved to full-time employment. She interned with ODEP
originally and then moved to another agency and then returned
to the Department of Labor. She’s conducting employer-based
policies to help America’s employers support an
inclusive workplace, and her experience in WRP is
something that has been very beneficial in helping those
employers understand that people with disabilities are
ready to do the job. Another success story that we’ve
had is also our colleague Ann Ing [phonetic sp], who
is a management analyst in the customer service division in
the Department of Navy at the U.S. Department
of Defense. She obtained an internship,
which also led to full-time employment, and she does most
of her work coordinating the information and
requests for events that come into her division. Both of these young women are
excellent examples of how the WRP not only gave them an
opportunity for employment, but then continued to give
them more opportunities for permanent employment.>>Lauren Karas: Best practices:
Consider central funding for WRP hires in keeping with
your agency strategy for other summer
student programs. A few agencies that use central
funding are Department of Defense, the State
Department, FDIC, and the VA. Promote the WRP as a
resource along with other employment programs. Plan for summer hires
well in advance, keeping in mind the
December release date, set aside slots if necessary. If you would like to develop a
recruiting relationship with specific schools, these
reach out to WRP directly. The need for recruiters: Would
you like to get an early look at the candidates and help make
the WRP database happen? Help us find recruiters,
or consider serving as a recruiter yourself. Each year, then WRP relies on
over 150 volunteer recruiters to conduct phone
interviews with candidates and complete candidate profiles. Volunteer recruiters often say
that interviewing WRP candidates and working with the school
representatives is an extremely fulfilling experience. Some of the benefits of
recruiting include: The ability to directly impact employment
for people with disabilities in a hands-on way, the chance to
establish a close recruiting relationship with
your desired schools, and experience in
interviewing candidates and discussing accommodations. Recruiters have the
flexibility to choose the number of interviews they
wish to conduct. We ask that you conduct
a minimum of 10, but a maximum of 50.>>Patrick Cokley: And many
times many recruiters will use this opportunity to get a first
look at the candidates in the Workforce Recruitment Program
and honestly just get a step ahead of many of the employers
that will be using the database once the database is launched. For more information on the
Workforce Recruitment Program please feel free to visit
our website at www.wrp.gov. You can also find more
information and other resources on the ODEP website at
www.dol.gov/odep/wrp. In addition, our colleagues at
the Department of Defense and the Office of Diversity
Management and Equal Opportunity, also
have their website at http://diversity.defense.gov. Our colleagues at ODMEO are
also on Facebook and Twitter, so please feel free to check
them out on social media. Thank you for your attention and
good luck searching this next year of WRP candidates.

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