Last month at DirectEmployers 2017 Annual Meeting & Conference (DEAM17), we had the opportunity to honor some of our Members with a 2016 DirectEmployers Member Award, a program established to recognize exceptional employer initiatives in the areas of OFCCP compliance and recruitment marketing. This year, our OFCCP Compliance winner was Colorado Springs Utilities, who submitted their two-part disability hiring program which not only focused on sourcing and hiring individuals with disabilities, but also on employer education. Let’s delve deeper into this initiative to see what makes this program a winner.

During a review of their previous year recruiting initiatives, Colorado Springs Utilities noted a need to make greater strides in recruiting individuals with disabilities. With an established, award-winning veteran hiring program, they decided to focus their efforts on this area to improve their disability hiring numbers. The solution? A Hiring Abilities Career Fair preceded by an Employer Disability Awareness Forum.


With an initial intent to host a career event that would solely promote their open positions to candidates, the team recognized that it may be doing a disservice to the disability community with a private event and opened the program to other local employers. Hosted in conjunction with National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, Colorado Springs Utilities reached out to the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, The Independence Center and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to invite over 50 area employers and hundreds of potential job seekers. As a result, 37 employers and several hundred job seekers attended the event.

A few weeks prior to the hiring event, Colorado Springs Utilities also hosted an “Employer Disability Awareness Forum” to teach employers proper etiquette on how to interact with and accommodate certain types of disabilities, as well as to share first-hand job search and employment stories directly from people with disabilities. The event was attended by over 40 individuals from 17 different organizations! With both events well-received, plans are already in the works to host these programs again this year.

Great work and congratulations on your award, Colorado Springs Utilities! Next week we’ll be sharing another award-winning initiative, so be sure to check back for an additional opportunity to learn from your peers’ hard work!

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