Feds making progress on disability hiring goal

photo of a man in a wheelchair with briefcase and business card.
Feds struggle to meet employment goals

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management released a new report December 19, finding that the federal government, the nation’s largest employer, hired 16,653 new employees with disabilities in fiscal year 2012.

“People with disabilities are a vital part of the federal workforce, as we are better able to serve the American people because of the talents and experience they bring to the table.” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said in a news release. “Since President Obama issued his Executive Order in 2010, we’ve made substantial progress in hiring and retaining people with disabilities over the past three years. This work is enabling the federal government to continue to develop as a model employer for people with disabilities.”

Overall, federal employment of people with disabilities rose from 203,694 individuals in fiscal year in 2011, to 219,975, which is the equivalent of about 11.89 percent of the federal workforce.

The number of new hirings, however, represents a decrease from FY 2011, when the federal government hired 18,738 people with disabilities. Therefore, it appears that the federal government is not yet on track to meet President Obama’s goal of hiring 100,000 new employees with disabilities by 2015, which he called for in an executive order signed July 26, 2010, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“To implement Executive Order 13548, OPM has worked with partner agencies to implement and improve efforts to employ workers with disabilities through increased recruitment, hiring and retention,” the report states. “OPM has identified these efforts as a key component of human resource strategies, and has required agencies to adopt an integrated approach through their Human Resource, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Diversity and Inclusion offices. Agencies are expected to implement practices within their agencies that promote diversity and inclusion for all employees.”