New regulations under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), which took effect on March 24th of this year, have refocused national attention on the issue of disability and employment. For the first time, federal contractors will be inviting job applicants to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities or protected veterans at both the pre-offer and post-offer stages of employment. Also, for the first time the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) established a utilization goal of 7% for persons with disabilities and a benchmark of 7.2% (for 2014) for protected veterans. The impetus for these game changing regulations is the high unemployment rate for both of these groups.

New regulations, however, always present new challenges as well. The purpose of this article is to provide strategies for addressing these challenges from a business perspective, and to assist federal contractors in marching beyond compliance, attracting new talent, and creating a culture where all workers fe