Having Trouble Finding Summer Job Candidates?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over the past few years the population of young adults and teenagers in the U.S. has participated less in the workforce. Analysts have suggested that the causes are varied, but include stronger competition from older, unemployed workers and an increased focus among younger adults and teenagers on volunteerism and skills attainment instead of employment, to name a few. Recently the unemployment rate has decreased, so if you’re looking to hire teenage and young adult employees this summer, it’s likely that you’ll have increased difficulty in finding them.

If you’re like most employers, you begin your seasonal, summer recruitment cycle in early Spring. Still, you may have difficulty filling – and keeping filled – your summer openings due to myriad reasons such as competition from other employers, candidates dropping out of the pipeline and new hires simply not working out. If you’re still seeking summer workers, there is a little known resource for identifying pre-screened candidates you can access for free. The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a government sponsored program that provides federal and private employers a vehicle to promote their employment opportunities to highly talented entry-level candidates with disabilities.

The WRP was originally designed as an affirmative action to assist the Department of Defense (DOD) in increasing the numbers of their employees with disabilities. It began as a simple MS Access database containing profiles of youth with disabilities obtained from federal human resources staff who interviewed them at prestigious colleges and universities throughout the nation.  Due to its success, other federal agencies voiced their interest in accessing the profiles and were eventually allowed to take advantage of the program. Later, a few private sector companies found out about the WRP and ultimately the federal government opened it up to them as well.

We personally have had great success with the WRP. We’ve hired several summer workers via the program and have been thoroughly pleased with their professionalism and skill sets. We even hired one person into a full-time position a few years back.  This is a great opportunity for you to add quality and diversity to your team!

Today, the WRP has evolved into a more sophisticated job board for private employers to post their openings. It is a collaboration between the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN), the organization that administers the WRP program for non-federal employers, and DirectEmployers, a non-profit consortium of global employers. For more information or to post your job opportunities, visit: www.wrp.jobs.

Tyler Matney has over 14 years of experience in managing government, non-profit and private sector workforce strategies & human capital management, health & disability and assistive technology (AT) and web accessibility-related programs. Read Tyler's bio.

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