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Report: Feds Fall Short On Disability Hiring


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Nearly two years after the Obama administration committed to making the federal government a model employer of people with disabilities, a new report suggests they have a long way to go.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order in July 2010 calling for the hiring of 100,000 workers with disabilities over five years. Today, however, a new report from the Government Accountability Office finds that federal agencies are not making enough headway.

“Nearly two years after the executive order was signed, the federal government is not on track to achieve the executive order’s goals,” investigators wrote.

The report found that just 20,000 employees with disabilities were hired in 2010 and 2011.

A major reason for the slow progress may be that many federal agencies have insufficient plans to increase their hiring of people with disabilities, GAO said. Nearly half of agencies did not include an exact goal in their plan for the number of people they expected to hire. And, many agencies failed to identify a senior official responsible for the initiative.

GAO indicated that more training is needed for government workers so that they know how to employ and accommodate those with disabilities.

Additionally, the investigators said that better data may improve federal efforts to increase disability employment. Since the government relies on employees to self-report disabilities, many stakeholders are concerned that current figures may underrepresent the true picture of the federal workforce.

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Comments (2 Responses)

  1. Lori Emmons says:

    It seems that this is just one more area that a President didn’t keep their campaign promises. If businesses were smart about it they would want the tax credits they can get for hiring us differently abled workers. That’s OK, I’d rather continue creating my own future online anyway!

  2. Richard says:

    I am someone with a disability, although I don’t require any special access or accommodations, and over the last two years have applied to over five hundred Federal Government jobs. My experience thus far has been a great disappointment and I would like to respond as I’m at the end of my line. I also wish to comment on the proposed rule for contractor and subcontractor compliance-requiring them to utilize 7% people with disabilities-in an article about Pat Shiu, Director of DOL, OFCCP.

    First, if the U.S. Government is going to subject contractors to this 7% rule, it screams of hypocrisy given that our Government doesn’t have to abide by the same rules. Furthermore, the U.S. Government could actually do this quite easily as they are the ones at the controls. In the Federal Government, hiring managers define Schedule A as a tool and optional. Therefore, it is not often utilized and becomes irrelevant. I know this from far too many first hand experiences. This double standard is disappointing, to say the least. Why do we hold contractors and their subs to a higher standard? It’s not fair at all and quite awful!

    I’m highly qualified and used to dealing with Directors, managers, business owners, bankers as well as with a great diversity of others. I have twenty five years of business experience, graduated near the top of my business class at one of the most respected and demanding universities in this country, have a degree that is absolutely relevant for the jobs I have been applying to and unfortunately, I’ve been wasting my talents over the last year at a GS 7 level.

    I am currently working for a Federal Agency in Pittsburgh and although I am terribly overqualified, I get along with everyone very well and have received two monetary awards in less than a year’s time. It is actually amusing, in a sad sort of way, that many of the managers have trouble putting together a complete sentence let alone effectively managing others. The Federal Government needs to get out of the practice of hiring only from within or hiring those who have Federal Government experience but nothing else. Otherwise, nothing will ever change. I am sick and tired of being used, spending so much time on applications, KSA’s and the like, all the while most Agencies already have someone picked out from within or perhaps a manager’s cousin or friend. I have three young boys to support and I refuse to let this continue.

    In the above light, what can now be considered my vast experience seeking Federal employment for someone with a disability has been very much an eye opener and disappointing. I don’t believe the reasons stem from lack of legislation or lack of effort on the part of law makers as even the President’s Executive Orders have brought increased attention to this matter. Rather, there seems to be an information chasm that exists between those responsible for creating awareness (‘enforcement’ seems a bit harsh) of ADA and diversity requirements and those at the end of the chain including HR personnel and selecting officials within each Federal agency. From experience, I have to say that the SBA is the absolute worst in their blatant disregard for Schedule A and unwillingness to bring in highly qualified personnel.

    Several Government HR people I have spoken with reiterated my assertion that a lack of awareness, more than anything else, is the reason for such slow adherence to said legislation. Despite the President’s efforts in establishing goals for the disabled and the respective entities responsible for execution of such, perhaps there needs to be someone in charge utilizing a positive and proactive approach in a business development capacity or as a liaison, to first address and later bridge this communication chasm.

    All that I’m asking for is to better leverage my knowledge, experience and education and a fair chance at a decent job. I think that, out of over five hundred applications, I should have had better opportunities. How does anyone expect Government, the economy and business to improve if truly highly qualified people never get hired? One would also think that there would be more ‘virtual’ positions as it saves resources and provides better continuity. And please, I am sick and tired of receiving the USA Jobs link or an SPPC’s contact information after an inquiry-most Federal employees, including those in HR, don’t even know who their SPPC is or even what it is. In fact when you call or email, half have phones that are disconnected with emails that bounce back.

    Schedule A is a disappointment in other ways as well. Many hiring officials just don’t use it and on the occasion that someone does get hired, it’s usually for a very low grade of pay. So, not only are people with disabilities overlooked but they are under utilized as well.

    There is a complete disregard for highly qualified people which not only hurts both the applicant and the Agency but, really hinders this country’s chances of becoming more competitive internationally. I’m tired and exasperated! Please people, do something…anything. In fact, there is a great need for a Hiring Czar who would represent people with disabilities as a whole, create and define a more appropriate plan of action with ways to measure said progress, or lack of. Otherwise, I see a tremendously conspicuous class action lawsuit in the works. Perhaps that might get people to notice.



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