Think Beyond the Label today launched an online jobs portal that connects job seekers with disabilities to employers, including those that are actively seeking to hire them. The job-search engine gives candidates with disabilities access to 860,000 jobs listings from large and small employers that have been “vetted”.
With a nearly 15% unemployment rate among working-age Americans with disabilities, Think Beyond the Label hopes its jobs portal will promote disability employment opportunities, help grow the pipeline of qualified job candidates with disabilities, and meet businesses’ hiring needs.
Full disclosure: I consult for Think Beyond the Label. I’m also keenly tuned into the job-search landscape for people with disabilities, and I’m not certain that search engines that index jobs across corporate websites will ever be the best way to land a job. Period.
However, the real value in Think Beyond the Label’s new portal is in making employers aware that they can recruit from this group in a way that makes sense. The feed is powered by DirectEmployers, a nonprofit group of Fortune 1000 companies whose overarching mission is to connect companies to targeted populations, like people with disabilities and veterans, who are otherwise difficult to reach through traditional recruiting mechanisms. This group is also, fittingly, fed up with spending hundreds of dollars on individual job postings to sites like Monster.com.
By putting their “chips” — energy and resources — with organizations that people with disabilities have a vested belief in, employers know they might be able to attract more qualified candidates and meet their diversity needs. The fresh and humorous Think Beyond the Label message resonates with the disability population. Its national TV and print campaign, which the New York Times covered, shows that you can make light of having a disability — humor is how many of us, disabled or not, deal with adversity. This group is looking for opportunities, not pity, and for employers that want to hire them for their ability, not disability.
The Think Beyond the Label jobs portal has a custom interface for displaying available jobs for people with disabilities. The portal first lists results by those companies that are actively seeking to hire from this group, including the federal sector and companies that do business with the federal government. It lets candidates directly interact with employers, and employers are notified when a job seeker applies for a job from the Think Beyond the Label website.
And Think Beyond the Label isn’t just a website, either. It’s a bona fide program run by Health & Disability Advocates, a Chicago-based health and disability advocacy organization that helps employers find state and local agencies that specialize in jobs placement and careers for people with disabilities. Such agencies work with employers to screen, recruit and train potential candidates as part of the federal government’s initiatives to improve the employment landscape for marginalized groups including people with disabilities.
The real question is whether job seekers — tired of being turned down for jobs for a variety of reasons, the economy and otherwise, will use the engine. They should. People with disabilities: Employers are thrilled to have specialized avenues for finding new talent like this new job portal. You just have to give them a good reason to give you a call back, so beef up your resume and take Think Beyond the Label’s jobs portal for a spin.