What is the difference between competitive and noncompetitive employment for a person with a disability?

In the non-competitive hiring process, agencies use a special authority (Schedule A) to hire persons with disabilities without requiring them to compete for the job. In the competitive process, applicants compete with each other through a structured process. You can apply using Schedule A if you are a person with an intellectual disability, a severe physical disability, or a psychiatric disability.

Job training and employment programs for people with disabilities

If you have a disability and are looking for work, these resources can help.

Ticket to Work program

Social Security’s Ticket to Work program offers free training for Social Security disability recipients ages 18 – 64 who want to work. Read the publication Working While Disabled: How We Can Help for more information. 

Organizations that help with job skills and job searches
Get help with job skills and learn how to search for jobs with these organizations:

Find job listings for people with disabilities
Job listings for anyone with a disability

Job listings for veterans with a disability
The Veteran Readiness and Employment (VRE) program offers support and services for veterans with service-related disabilities. VRE can help you:

  • Get job training and counseling
  • Find and keep a job
  • Start a business

And learn about special hiring authorities that let federal agencies appoint vets with service-connected disabilities to jobs.

Source: USA.gov

Hiring People with Disabilities - For Employers

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) supports several initiatives that help employers interested in hiring individuals with disabilities, including:

  • The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a free, nationwide service that educates employers about effective strategies for recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing people with disabilities. EARN also maintains a list of job posting websites geared toward job seekers with disabilities and a collection of success stories about employers that have made a commitment to disability inclusion.
  • The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a free resource that connects private businesses and federal agencies nationwide with qualified job candidates for temporary or permanent positions in a variety of fields. Applicants are highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workforce. Through WRP.jobs, private employers interested in gaining access to these individuals can post permanent and temporary positions. WRP participants can then search and apply for these positions using an employer’s standard application processes.
  • The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides free, expert advice on workplace accommodations that may be necessary to assist qualified individuals with disabilities apply for a job and maximize their productivity once onboard.
  • Although not a resource for hiring per se, the Campaign for Disability Employment offers a variety of media assets, including video public service announcements, all designed to encourage employers and others to recognize the value and talent people with disabilities add to America’s workplaces and economy. Employers can use these resources in the workplace to help spark conversations about disability issues.

ODEP also offers several fact sheets and other resources to educate employers about effective recruitment and hiring strategies, as well as laws such as Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects the employment rights of people with disabilities. The  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the employment provisions of the ADA under Title I.

U.S. Department of Labor Resources on Hiring People with Disabilities

Other Resources on Hiring People with Disabilities

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

EEOC has success in litigation about employment discrimination against people with developmental disabilities

Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans is pleased to present Laurie Vasichek, retired Senior Litigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discussing her work at the EEOC.

Ms. Vasichek’s last case was EEOC v Walmart. This court case was appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. One conclusion of this case is that a job coach is considered a reasonable accommodation.

Additional Resources

Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans Employment Resources Flyer
This is a printable pdf with employment resources for students transitioning to adulthood or adults.

Independent Futures That Work
IFTW project is a joint effort of the Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. State and national resources to Learn Independently, Live Independently, and Work Independently.

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS)
Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) assists persons with disabilities in their desire to obtain or maintain employment and/or achieve independence in their communities by providing rehabilitation services and working cooperatively with business and other community resources.

Louisiana Disability Employment Initiative – Employment First
Louisiana’s state government has adopted an Employment First (EF) goal and embraced this goal for all people with disabilities in the State. That employment is the primary outcome for all people of working age in the State. These efforts in Louisiana are part of a larger national effort to advance employment of individuals with disabilities through policy, legislation, advocacy, and systems change.

Supported Employment Directory of Providers
The link will bring you to Louisiana Department of Health website where you can find a statewide list of supported employment providers.

RAISE A Span Project – Employment Resources
In 2014, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), a parent-led and family-centered non-profit parent training and information center (PTI), was funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to provide support to individuals with disabilities through the transition from secondary school and into competitive employment and independent living.

Employees’ Practical Guide to Requesting and Negotiating Reasonable Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
This guide provides information on ADA basics, how to request accommodations, and negotiating accommodations in the workplace.
Source: Job Accommodation Network

Your Ticket to Work    English      Spanish
If you receive disability benefits and want to work, learn how you can take advantage of the Ticket to Work program and still keep your benefits and Medicare coverage while you make the transition.
Source:  Social Security Administration

Soft Skills to Pay the Bills:  Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success
This is a curriculum developed by US Department of Labor focused on teaching “soft” or workforce readiness skills to you, including you with disabilities.
Source:  US. Department of Labor

Starting with Me:  A Guide to Person-Centered Planning for Job Seekers
Work is an important part of life. People with disabilities benefit from working as much as or more than people without disabilities do. The benefits from work include financial independence and security; increased self-confidence; personal growth; skill development; and a better social life. Perhaps you would like to work but have not been encouraged to do so by your family, friends, or support people in your life. Maybe you are not certain if you can work or what kind of work might be right for you. This is a guide for you. This guide reviews a three-stage career development process. Career development is an approach to help you make satisfying job choices.

In person-centered career planning, your personal preferences, goals, and dreams are the focus. A person-centered approach does not mean you have to tackle job exploration all on your own. It does mean that anyone who helps you in your career search and the development of your career dreams respects your wishes and helps you to focus on your skills and abilities.

Career development is an ongoing process. Finding satisfying work doesn’t usually just happen by applying for a job in the newspaper. The process involves several phases– and it all begins with you.
Source:  Institute for Community Inclusion

Testing Accommodations for Jobs
This resource provides technical assistance on testing accommodations for individuals with disabilities who take standardized exams and other high-stakes tests. It addresses the obligations of testing entities, including private, state, or local government entities that offer exams related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary (high school), postsecondary (college and graduate school), professional (law, medicine, etc.), or trade (cosmetology, electrician, etc.) purposes to provide testing accommodations, what types of accommodations must be provided, and what documentation may be required of the person requesting testing accommodations are also discussed.
Source:  U.S. Department of Justice, June 2016

The Role of Occupational Therapy in Facilitating Employment of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
A fact sheet produced by The American Occupational Therapy Association on the Occupational Therapist role in facilitating work skills and supports in the workplace for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Source:  The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. 2015


Updated 10/31/2023