The Department of Labor wants your help in building innovative tools to improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities.

Nearly twenty-two years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and thirty-nine years after the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - two of the most significant disability employment-related pieces legislation in American history - people with disabilities continue to be employed at much lower levels than people without disabilities/the general population.

Not only do people with disabilities have a significantly higher unemployment rate than the general population, they also have a much lower labor force participation rate. According to the most recent data from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (April 2012), people with disabilities had a 20.3% labor force participation rate compared to 69.1% for their non-disabled peers, and people with disabilities had an unemployment rate of 12.5% compared to 7.6% for their non-disabled peers. For minorities with disabilities, these disparities are even greater. This represents a significant loss of willing and able talent to the American workforce, a loss of income for people without jobs, and an economic loss to the American economy.

Challenge Summary:

Your challenge is to use publicly available information, tools, resources, and employment data to build tools that promote the employment of people with disabilities.

Each submission should achieve at least one of the following goals:

  • Promote Recruitment Resources for Employers:
    These features should provide recruitment resources for employers to identify individuals with disabilities to hire by using tools such as Career One-Stops Centers, state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, employment networks, educational institutions and programs, non-profit organizations, and private recruitment resources.
  • Develop Job Training and Skill-Building Tools for Job Seekers:
    These features should include vocational and workforce training resources, apprenticeship, internship, and mentorship resources, resume tips, as well as resources and tools related to “soft skills” (e.g., interview skills, etc.).
  • Facilitate Employment-Related Transportation Options:
    These features should use publically available resources to expand individuals with disabilities access to and knowledge of accessible employment-related transportation options.
  • Expand Web and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility:
    These features should use publicly available tools regarding website and ICT accessibility that will help employers improve their systems to be accessible to applicants with disabilities, as well as current employees.

In addition, submissions should:

  • be creative, innovative, and easy to use;
  • provide access to important data and resources;
  • attract users with different skill sets and language preferences;
  • beaccessible (e.g.,compatibleand interoperablewith assistive technology commonly used by individuals with disabilities, such as screen reading and speech recognition software) - *see also rule 9 re: 508 compliance
  • consider partnerships that will ensure sustainability of the app; and
  • be targeted towards a variety of audiences including students, teachers, career counselors, workforce professionals, and women working or seeking work at all levels in a variety of salaried and hourly jobs.

Submissions should be creative and innovative, offering the public easy access to important data and resources that meet the stated goals of this challenge. Successful apps could take many different forms, such as: interactive and informative games, social or professional networks, or data visualization.

Submissions may be designed for internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications.

 Additionally, submissions should consider partnerships that will ensure sustainability of the app, and should also consider means to attract users with different skill sets and language preferences.

Partners: Social Security Administration and Department of Education

View full rules

How to enter

Contestants must register for the contest on by creating an account between May 23rd, 2012 12 a.m. EDT and August 23rd, 2012 11:59 p.m. EDT. Any entries received after August 23rd 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EDT will not be considered for prizes. Registrants will receive an email to verify their account and may then enter their submissions via the "Post a Submission" tab (Submissions).

  1. If the software tool cannot be provided to the Competition Administrator and Judges for review purposes (via the web with a URL or mobile app store), a link to a video of the working tool may be submitted. In such cases, the Competition Administrator has the right to request access to the Submission in person, or via any reasonable manner to verify any of the software tool’s criteria.
  2. A Submission may be disqualified if it does not function as expressed in its description.
  3. All Submissions must be available for public use and evaluation by August 23rd, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EDT in order to be considered for judging purposes.
  4. Once the submission period closes, Contestants cannot make any changes or alterations to the Submission until the judging is complete. Winners will be announced on or around August 29th, 2012.


Full List of Judges

Full List of Judges

Judging Criteria

  • Mission
    How well does the application address at least one of the four goals defined for this challenge?
  • Creativity
    How innovative, interesting, and unique is the application in meeting contest requirements?
  • Design and Ease of Use
    Does the application present information in a way that is easy for the target audiences to use and is pleasing to the eye?