Many national service programs have begun recruiting new members for the upcoming year. As you begin this process, here are some ways to recruit potential members with disabilities:
Make a statement!
When developing your program’s recruitment materials (including posters, emails, and online) and applications it is important to include a statement regarding your organizations commitment to inclusion. For example:
“Our national service program is an equal opportunity employer and encourages qualified applicants with and without disabilities to apply. Individuals with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations by calling [contact name] at [phone/TTY], and materials in alternative formats are available upon request.”
A statement like the one above demonstrates to potential applicants that your service program is committed to creating an inclusive environment and recruiting qualified and diverse service members.
How has your organization publicized your commitment to inclusion?
Showcase your members’ experiences!
Often the best way to recruit potential members with disabilities is to have current and former service members share their service experience. Encourage current members and alums to speak and write about their service experience; in what capacity they served, why and how they became a service member, and the impact of their service, both on their communities and in terms of their professional and personal development. Including pictures of members in service with and without disabilities (complete with descriptions) also shows applicants that you encourage people of all abilities to serve.
Please visit ServeMinnesota to view examples of service members, both with and without disabilities reflecting on their own service experiences.
How does your organization showcase your members’ experiences (including those service members with disabilities)?
Target your recruitment!
Whenever possible it is a good strategy reach out to disability organizations when recruiting qualified members with disabilities. Suggestions of organizations to conduct outreach to are listed below:
- Independent Living Centers
- Departments of Vocational Rehabilitation and Ticket to Work sites
- Local College/University Office of Disability Services
- Your state’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities in Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD)
For more information regarding recruiting people with disabilities, visit:
Please share your experiences so that we all can learn. Send responses to Sarah Kaplan at sarah.kaplan [at] umb.edu.
The National Service Inclusion Project is a cooperative agreement (08TAHMA001) between the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston in collaboration with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Association on Higher Education and Disability, National Council on Independent LivingNational Down Syndrome Congress. Information contained in this email is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement from the National Service Inclusion Project or the Corporation for National and Community Service.