Engaging Businesses

In this section, workforce development staff will learn how to promote active engagement with the business sector to identify the skills and support that workers need to grow in a career pathway. You will learn how to increase inclusion of individuals in low- and moderate-income populations, including people with disabilities and others who are underserved in the workforce.


Where can I find practical information on how to discuss disability with employers and others? How do I implement reasonable accommodations? How can I work with partners to promote inclusion?

What strategies can we use to support WIOA’s definition of customized employment to create a career pathway for a job seeker with multiple barriers to employment?

  • Customized employment is a flexible process that involves individualizing the relationship between job seekers and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. Learn about different approaches to customized employment for helping job seekers who have not been successful with a more traditional job search approach.

How can we more effectively engage employers to recruit, hire, and train job seekers with disabilities and others with multiple barriers to employment?

  • These guides can help address how to more effectively engage employers to recruit, hire, and train job seekers as an integrated strategy in American Job Center service delivery.

How can the discovery process be adopted by American Job Centers as an assessment for career exploration to support job seekers with multiple barriers to employment to both enter and return to the labor force?

What are some creative ways our American Job Center can provide quality service delivery and improve employment for underserved populations?

Learn about virtual and remote approaches that are responsive to individual needs, such as increasing access to virtual job fairs, working with businesses to provide virtual job tours, and holding ‘drive-thru- job fairs.


Providing Inclusive Business Services: A Day in the Life of an American Job Center: This self-paced eLearning module provides tools and resources to support Business Services Representatives with strategies to effectively serve businesses to overcome the challenges of recruiting, retaining, and developing talent through an integrated and inclusive approach. It includes an accompanying Reflect, Relate, and Apply Activity Sheet to help draw connections between the topics and examples presented and experiences as a business services representative and/or front-line American Job Center staff.

Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): A national technical assistance resource that helps employers tap the benefits of disability diversity by educating public and private-sector organizations on ways to build inclusive workplace cultures.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN): A national technical assistance resource that provides free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.

  • Benefits and Costs of Accommodation: This study, which is conducted annually with employers, provides survey findings about workplace accommodations including low cost and high-impact accommodations.
  • Disability Awareness: This webpage provides information and resources on disability awareness, including examples of situations and solutions in the workplace. 
  • Workplace Accommodation Toolkit: This toolkit provides guidance and resources for developing or updating accommodation policies and processes while leveraging proven practices.
  • Job Accommodation Network is Here For You: (4 min) – This animated video shows how the Job Accommodation Network can help a business increase the productivity of the workplace using low-cost, practical solutions to accommodate situations.

Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace: This fact sheet serves as a basic overview of reasonable accommodations in the workplace. It includes some examples and a brief review of the reasonable accommodation process. This document has information that may be useful for employees, employers, human resources staff, and others. Because this is a very general, baseline document, more specific questions may be answered by your local Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Regional Center.

Implementing Customized Employment, Guided Group Discovery and Self-Guided Discovery in a Variety of Settings and with a Variety of Partners: This brief includes materials to support different approaches to discovery and customized employment for helping people who haven’t been successful with a more traditional job search approach (e.g., identifying open positions, filling out applications, and interviewing). The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act defines customized employment and requires that American Job Centers be both physically and programmatically accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Customized Employment Works for Veterans: This highlights two videos released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and Veterans' Employment and Training Service, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs featuring businesses that met their hiring needs by using customized employment to hire veterans with disabilities:

Hire employees with disabilities: This toolkit can assist small businesses in hiring more people with disabilities. Information and resources include how to hire individuals with disabilities, financial and state tax incentives. Access free business counseling.

Employer Engagement Cohort Resources: These resources can help address how to more effectively engage employers with recruiting, hiring, and training job seekers with disabilities as an integrated strategy of the American Job Center service delivery.

Guided Group Discovery Resources: These resources include a facilitator guide, a participant workbook, and an accompanying slide deck (Introduction and Course). The purpose of Guided Group Discovery is to lay the foundation for competitive integrated employment as a Universal Design that can benefit all job seekers.

Guided Group Discovery - Veterans Edition - Facilitator Guide: This guide is designed to train people to facilitate Guided Group Discovery sessions with veterans, people with disabilities, and/or others who experience barriers to employment.

Guided Group Discovery - Youth Version - Facilitator Guide and Supplemental Slide Deck: This guide is designed to train people to facilitate Guided Group Discovery sessions with youth and/or adults with disabilities, and/or others who experience barriers to employment. By facilitating groups with partners, job seekers can get support from multiple systems and the agencies can leverage each other’s resources.

Apprenticeship Works for Business: A Guide to Building Inclusive Workplaces: This guide introduces businesses to the benefits and opportunities of inclusive apprenticeship.

Introduction to Stackable Credentials: This resource provides practical steps for enhancing employer engagement, designing programs with stackable credentials, supporting student completion, and sustaining programs responsive to employer needs. Each section offers resources, tools, and promising practices.

Making Virtual Job Fairs Universally Accessible: This innovation highlights a strategy to increase access to job fairs through the development of Virtual Job Fair Preparation Webinars. These strategies are now standard practice for every Virginia Career Works (American Job Center) virtual job fair.

Virtual Job Tours: This innovation highlights how WorkHawaii’s Youth Program uses virtual job tours for both in-school and out-of-school youth between the ages of 16-24 featuring local businesses.

Drive Thru Job Fair: This innovation highlights how in New York’s Otsego County, the Otsego Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Chenango-Delaware-Otsego American Job Center to hold a “Drive-Thru Job Fair” that not only complied with safe social distancing guidelines, but also kept accessibility in mind from start to finish.