Print

News >> Browse Articles >> Federal Agencies

+4

Obama Looks to Increase Hiring of Disabled Workers

Obama Looks to Increase Hiring of Disabled Workers

Alex M. Parker | Government Executive

October 12, 2009

The White House and the Office of Personnel Management this week announced hiring initiatives aimed at halting a decline in the representation of disabled employees in the federal workforce.

President Obama earlier this week said he hoped the government could become a model for other employers.

“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,” Obama said in a statement. “As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government and its contractors can lead the way by implementing effective employment policies and practices that increase opportunities and help workers achieve their full potential.”

The White House and the Office of Personnel Management announced they would hold a daylong, governmentwide job fair targeted at people with disabilities, and would offer federal hiring managers online seminars on attracting and retaining disabled workers.

Obama is not the first president to use the federal government to promote workforce diversity. In 2000, President George W. Bush signed an order calling for the government to hire 100,000 people with disabilities within the next five years. Despite that order, representation of disabled workers decreased steadily. The percentage of federal employees with targeted disabilities such as blindness or deafness fell from 1.12 percent in fiscal 1999 to 0.88 percent in fiscal 2008, according to an annual report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In fiscal 2008 the Commerce, Transportation and Treasury departments were the only Cabinet-level agencies that experienced an increase in representation of disabled employees. And only four agencies with more than 500 employees exceeded the government’s goal of participation rates higher than 2 percent. EEOC had the highest participation of employees with targeted disabilities, at nearly 3 percent.

Christine Griffin, acting vice chair of the commission, attributed EEOC’s success to attention from top officials. “I think there’s been a commitment from people in leadership positions that this is important to us,” she said.

Griffin said Obama’s announcement was the first step toward a renewed focus on hiring the disabled. “Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what package the person comes in,” Griffin said. “If you’ve got the skills and qualifications that they need, that’s what they want.”

As part of the initiative, the White House and OPM will work with the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy to raise awareness of a hiring authority that allows agencies to recruit disabled workers noncompetitively under Schedule A, subject to a two-year probationary period. According to a March report from the National Council on Disability, agencies don’t use the Schedule A hiring authority enough. Only 326 of the 1,298 people with disabilities who joined government in fiscal 2006 were hired using Schedule A, the report said.

OPM will hold online training sessions to educate hiring managers on the Schedule A authority beginning in November. “This should be a core objective of the federal government because it works,” said John Berry, director of OPM, in a statement.


+4
  • 1_545346084m_1__max50

    zirk24

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    im a filipina woman,i need a job that suits me... pls help me.. im computer literate

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    shopsteward

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    i have worked in a laborer position for a DOI federal government agency 11 years and have been passed over/non-selected for promotion at the same worksite, four times in the past five years. i am a vocational rehabilitation qualified disabled, with a recorded medical disability acquired while in the military, affecting both knees. any reasonable person would conclude that my resume shows i am a plainly superior qualifed disabled compared to those selected in my stead. i have included the schedule A request letter with each application to openings. however, the selecting officials choose to disregard me each time. i was initially hired competatively and when made permanent HR returned my request for schedule A consideration letter back to me. now i think they just throw them out when i apply with it. although the third non-selection HR did give me their own version of schedule A letter, i was still not selected. even with being at the top of the OPM list i have still not been selected. when applicants applied to jobs i didn't apply to and were at the top of the list, they were selected. but when i am at the top of any list, the agency selects from the other list. this whole disparate treatment has been very demeaning for me. i just hope that the federal government will really keep a close eye on this program to make sure it is not abused like all the others.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    kellydowney1

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I hope this enlightens employers. I am a hardworker with chronic pain and copd willing to work. Please call.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Joyellen13

    about 5 years ago

    12 comments

    I hope the government treats their employees with disabilities properly.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Joyellen13

    about 5 years ago

    12 comments

    I hope the government treats their employees with disabilities properly.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Joyellen13

    about 5 years ago

    12 comments

    I was a federal employee for 27 years. I have two disabilities Chronic Obstructive Asthma,
    PTSD with Depression. I am looking for another government job.

Govcentral School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use GovCentral's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.