In a 2010 executive order President Obama says, “As the Nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government must become a model for the employment of individuals with disabilities. Executive departments and agencies must improve their efforts to employ workers with disabilities through increased recruitment, hiring, and retention of these individuals”. This order set a goal of hiring 100,000 workers with disabilities over a five-year span from 2011-2015. The total number of part and full-time employees hired during this time is 109, 575. That represents 14.41 percent of the federal workforce, which is an increase from 13.56 percent from FY2014. *Originally the goal was set by the Clinton Administration in 2000, however, the 2010 executive order noted that not enough steps were taken to achieve that goal.
At the present time, there are 264,844 employees with disabilities, which is a 35-year high.
OPM acting director Beth Cobert said, “The administration has consistently demonstrated a commitment to providing equal employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities. We remain committed to supporting the federal governments’ efforts to be a model employer for people with disabilities. I look forward to continuing building on our progress.”
Between 2014-2015, 30 percent more disabled veterans were hired, rising from 20,618 to 26,466. Additionally, four agencies employed the most disabled workers, percentage wise. They include the EEOC, Veteran Affairs Department, Defense Department and the Railroad Retirement Board.
More than 56 agencies took part in numerous training programs. These programs taught how to better recruit and accommodate new hires with some type of disability. OPM also worked with the Labor Department to develop online training tools. Special attention was paid to the Schedule A hiring authority.
Ultimately, the hope is that both sectors can share best practices for providing meaningful employment to disabled people. The EEOC Chair Jenny Yang has this to say on that topic, “Many qualified people with disabilities wish to contribute their talents and serve their country through federal service. It’s vital that we create inclusive workplaces across the federal government and private sector where people with disabilities can thrive.”
For a table showing the upswing in hiring workers with a disability, click here.