Federal government walks the walk in employing people with disabilities
Posted on January 24th, 2014 by Maynard
A lot of people are aware that the federal government is a major employer. Many don’t realize, however, that approximately 85 percent of federal employees are located outside the Washington, DC, area. So imagine the influence and impact the federal government could have across the entire country on increasing the number of people with disabilities in the workforce if they made hiring individuals with disabilities a top priority.
Well, they already have, and it’s starting to make a difference! Back in 2010, President Obama challenged federal departments and agencies to become model employers and set a national goal of hiring 100,000 people with disabilities in the federal workforce by 2015. We all know the federal government funds employment programs to help people with disabilities and works to protect individuals with disabilities from employment discrimination. But setting a hiring goal for itself is something different. This was the federal government’s chance not only to talk the talk but also to walk the walk.
I am happy to report that good progress is being made toward this goal. The federal government just released a new report that shows federal government hiring of people with disabilities is on the rise. In fiscal year 2012, 16,653 people with disabilities were hired by federal departments and agencies, the highest percentage (16.31%) of total new federal hires than at any other time in the 32 years the data has been collected. The 2012 Employment of People with Disabilities in the Federal Executive Branch Report found that a total of 219,975 federal workers in the United States are people with disabilities, an 8 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
Recent economic downturn and cuts in federal agency budgets have complicated efforts, but there is no doubt that progress has been made and that there is a major focus across the federal government to actively recruit, hire and retain qualified people with disabilities. Walking the walk, not just talking the talk.