President Obama Announces New Initiatives During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, President Obama announced that the administration is taking several steps to ensure fair and equal access to employment for all Americans, particularly the 54 million people living with disabilities.

“My Administration is committed to ensuring that all Americans have the chance to fulfill their potential and contribute to our nation,” said President Obama. “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. 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. We must also rededicate ourselves to fostering an inclusive work culture that welcomes the skills and talents of all qualified employees. That’s why I’ve asked the responsible agencies to develop new plans and policies to help increase employment across America for people with disabilities.”

The Obama administration plans to take the following steps:

  • In early spring 2010, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) will cosponsor a one-day federal government-wide job fair for people with disabilities. OPM, ODEP, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Defense’s office on Computer and Electronic Accommodations Program will offer workshops throughout the day on a variety of topics, including the Schedule A hiring waiver, the right to reasonable accommodations, and information on assistive and communications technology.
  • OPM will develop training on Schedule A for federal human resources (HR) specialists, hiring managers and selective placement coordinators that will be easily accessible and available online.
  • EEOC and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will hold four Town Hall meetings in Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans to discuss the ADAAmendments Act proposed regulations. All Town Hall meetings will include two sessions: one for disability advocates and one for employers. These sessions will be completed by November 20th.
  • The Department of Justice will release a video identifying and responding to a number of common myths held by employers about workers with disabilities.
  • OPM will create and lead a task force comprised of representatives from key federal departments and agencies that have established model practices for recruiting, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities. The task force will report on innovative practices agencies currently use to encourage the employment of people with disabilities. Success practices will address conducting outreach, recruiting, hiring qualified candidates, successful accommodations, and providing opportunities for career advancement at all levels.