Description of the Practice

Florida’s Division of Blind Services (DBS) and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) use multiple resources to meet their employment placement goals. One resource that each agency uses is the Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP). Nationally, the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) oversees TAP. CSAVR includes 80 agencies, staffed by about 25,000 people, serving approximately 1 million customers with disabilities each year.

TAP is an online platform where employers can identify job candidates with disabilities. The purpose of TAP is to address the wide disparity in employment rates for people with and without disabilities. TAP supports employers who want to increase the diversity of their workforce, including individuals with disabilities.

Like the other vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies around the country, Florida’s DVR and DBS agencies have staff members who are engaged with CSAVR and TAP. In Florida, when job seekers register for DBS or DVR services, their counselors can invite them to TAP. The counselors send each job seeker a link to join TAP, post their resume, and search the site to identify jobs posted by employers. Meanwhile, employers pay a fee to post one or more jobs on TAP, receive metrics about the responses to their posts, manage responses, and connect directly with strong candidates. DBS and DVR counselors can also track what is happening and use data from TAP to help address difficulties the job seeker may face during the job search.

From September 2020 to August 2021, DBS trained their employment specialists to understand how they could use TAP to meet their agency’s annual employment placement goals. Business consultants and employment specialists reached out to employers to post their positions and invited job seekers to look through the 19,000 job postings available in Florida that year.

DBS and DVR regularly share innovative strategies to increase employment outcomes for people with disabilities. When DVR learned that DBS job seekers who used TAP were being employed at high rates, they worked with DBS to learn how they implemented TAP. DVR decided to broaden their use of TAP throughout the agency. Widespread adoption of TAP supported DBS to meet their employment placement goals in state fiscal year 2021.

Lessons Learned

As DBS and DVR staff have increased their knowledge of how to best use TAP, they have begun viewing this resource as a key strategy to help each agency meet their employment goals.

Additionally, as the number of employer job postings has increased, job seekers have become more hopeful about their prospects for employment and less fearful of being rejected by an employer because of a disability.

Employment specialists have a clearer sense of industry and employment trends. TAP is another useful source of data on who is hiring, who is getting hired and retained, what job seekers are looking for, and which industries could be targeted for outreach.

For more information, contact:

Stacy Smith
Business Consultant
Division of Blind Services

Kathy Davis
Business Relations Administrator
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation