IntroductionYoung man shaking hands with employer in an interview

According to employers, the number one staffing issue they face is hiring and retaining qualified employees--a concern that becomes more pressing as we begin to feel the crunch of a shrinking and aging workforce. To remain competitive, employers are looking beyond the traditional labor sources to access skilled, qualified workers. This includes focusing recruitment efforts on under-represented job candidates including people with disabilities.

The successful employment of people with disabilities starts with an understanding of how hiring people with disabilities can increase diversity and further an organization's mission or a business's financial bottom line.

This curriculum contains two modules. Each interactive module provides helpful information about employing people with disabilities.


  1. Diversity in Employment & Disability Awareness: This module is a general disability awareness curriculum that addresses common misconceptions, myths, and stereotypes concerning people with disabilities. It provides you with etiquette and communication "tips" and helps you to recognize the "sameness" of all people, regardless of labels like “disability”.

  2. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) & Reasonable Accommodations: Through this module, you will learn about Title I of the ADA and how to create a work environment inclusive of persons with disabilities.  The module will address issues related to recruitment, interviewing, reasonable accommodations, and universally designed work environments.

How to Use the Modules

Each interactive module includes 4 components:

How to Navigate the Modules

We recommend you begin with the Diversity in Employment & Disability Awareness module and then complete the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) & Reasonable Accommodations module. We also recommend you work through each of the modules in order starting with the Introduction and moving through each Individual Lesson.  If time is a problem, you can also complete an individual lesson and return later to complete the remaining lessons.  Individual links are provided to support access to each lesson.  

Navigating among the pages of content in each module is easy. There are a number of ways to interact with module content.

  • Activities - Throughout the modules you have the opportunity to interact with the content through activities. Instructions are displayed alongside each activity.

  • Personal Guide - Each module includes a number of video/audio clips of an individual with a disability who will offer their personal perspectives and stories. We include them to provide a more personal understanding and connection to the materials.  They do not necessarily represent the views of all people with disabilities.  You will need the latest version of Flash video player to view these clips. You can get the Flash player for free from Adobe. You may need to restart your computer after installing.

  • Additional Resources - Finally, we include links to additional resources at the end of each module, including web sites that provide additional module-related information.


We sincerely thank Rob Hoffman from the University of Missouri Region VII Rehabilitation & Continuing Education Program and Chas Nickolaus from the Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities for their consultation and assistance in the development of these training modules.

We also want to recognize the primary creators of these training modules, all from the University of Missouri Kansas City Institute for Human Development:  Tom McVeigh, M.S.; Laura Walker B.A.; Mike McCarthy, A.B.D.; Ronda Jenson Ph.D.; and Julie Warm Ph.D.

In addition, some sections of the information and training materials for this module include materials from the “Workforce Discovery: Diversity and Disability in the Workplace” training materials developed by the ADA and Information Technology Center of the Mid-Atlantic Region which is a program of TransCen Inc. These materials have been reproduced with their permission. We thank them for the use of these valuable resources. A link is provided to their website within the additional resources sections.

Getting Started

To access each module or the individual lessons contained in each module click on the links below:

Module One: Diversity in Employment - Disability Awareness

Module Two: The ADA and Reasonable Accommodations

Additional Resources

The following links will take you to the Empower Missouri website and to a variety of additional resources related to each module.

Module One: Resources on Disability Awareness

Module Two: Resources on the ADA & Reasonable Accommodations

This project was supported by the Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official positions of the Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities, nor do they represent official positions of the University of Missouri – Kansas City.