Posted in the Baltimore Sun (February 8, 2014)
While more people with disabilities are being hired by the U.S. Government, under the call by President Obama to for more diversity and inclusion in the federal government, the goals for employment are still not being met. Employer attitudes are a significant barrier to reaching the goals.
More individuals with disabilities worked for the federal government in 2012 than any time since at least as far back as 1980, the Office of Personnel Management reported recently, and the percentage of workers with disabilities hired each year continues to grow.
Advocates call the progress commendable, but say more can be done to bring down the nearly 12 percent unemployment rate for disabled workers.
The OPM reported that individuals with disabilities accounted for nearly 12 percent of the federal workforce, or about 220,000 people in 2012, up from 7 percent in 1980.
Obama issued an executive order in 2010 directing government agencies to redouble their efforts to recruit, hire and retain individuals with disabilities. That year, disabled workers made up about 10 percent of the federal workforce.
….Mark Perriello, president of the American Association of People with Disabilities, said agencies need to train hiring managers about how to interview individuals with impairments and dispel misconceptions about bringing them on staff.
One misconception, Perriello said, is that disabled workers need expensive accommodations in order to work. He said the average cost to accommodate a person with a disability is $35.