Pilot Program for Hiring Preference for Individuals with Disabilities Announced

Though strides have been made in hiring individuals with disabilities, evidence in Colorado continues to show those individuals are often denied opportunities. In hopes of addressing the issue, Governor Polis has approved the creation of a pilot program creating a hiring preference for individuals with disabilities. Launching January 1, 2023, this pilot program will begin with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). Other principal departments will be allowed to implement the program at the discretion of the state personnel director.

The program will conclude December 31, 2027, with principal departments submitting a report detailing when the program was used, the department, the number of applicants who opted to participate, and the number of persons with disabilities appointed to positions within the department.

Under this pilot program, the following new applicants will be eligible for the hiring preference: (1) those who meet the minimum qualifications or any other requirements of the position, (2) is a person with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and (3) submits proof of a disability in a way detailed by the program. If the department uses a numerical method for their comparative analysis, they will add 5 points to the applicant’s final score. If the department does not use a numerical method, those applicants that qualify for the hiring preference will be added to the referral list for an interview.

This program is similar to the program currently in Arizona for their public employers, which assesses 5 points to the applicant’s final score. If the program in Colorado is a success, it will likely be implemented in other state agencies across Colorado. We will have to await the results.