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.