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Federal Agencies to Spur Hiring of People with Disabilities

October 9 2009 | by

President Obama says the government can do more to be a model to society, and has tasked several agencies with developing new plans and policies that will promote the hiring of disabled people for federal jobs in Washington. The move comes as the White House continues to recognize Disability Employment Awareness Month in October.

“Across this country, millions of people with disabilities are working or want to work, and they should have access to the support and services they need to succeed. As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government and its contractors can lead the way,” Obama says.

The Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, led by Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez, will collaborate to sponsor and organize a day-long federal government-wide job fair for people with disabilities, which will take place in early spring 2010.

These two agencies, along with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Defense’s office on Computer and Electronic Accommodations Program, will provide workshops throughout the day on a variety of topics, including the Schedule A hiring waiver — a provision that lets agencies appoint people with severe physical or mental disabilities and gives them two years to demonstrate their potential to succeed — as well as sessions on reasonable accommodations including information on assistive and communications technology.

The EEOC and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will hold four town hall meetings throughout the nation to share information about the 2009 ADA Amendments Act proposed regulations and to gather comments on them. All Town Hall meetings will consist of two sessions — one for disability advocates and one for the employer community. The four locations are Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and New Orleans.

Additionally, a task force comprised of representatives from key federal departments and agencies that have developed and implemented model practices for recruiting, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities will report on their innovative hiring practices.

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