Traditionally, many people with disabilities have been required to prove their “job readiness” in order to be hired by the nation’s largest employer. Not anymore.
Under a new rule issued late last week, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management said that people with intellectual, psychiatric and severe physical disabilities will no longer be required to provide certification that they are ready to work when applying for jobs with the federal government.
Previously, applicants were asked to provide a letter from a medical professional, vocational rehabilitation specialist or disability benefit agency assessing their ability to perform the job.
The move is intended to make it simpler for people with disabilities to join the federal workforce by removing an “unnecessary burden,” officials said.
“Persons with disabilities today… often have work, educational and/or other relevant experience that an agency may rely upon to determine whether they are likely to succeed in a particular work environment. Consequently we believe that a requirement that applicants provide a separate ‘certification of job readiness’ is not necessary,” reads a notice about the new rule that was published Friday in the Federal Register.
The change applies to hires made through a process known as Schedule A, which allows the government to recruit people with certain “targeted” disabilities without going through a competitive hiring process.
“We deliver the best results to the American people when we include all parts of our society in our workforce, and take full advantage of their skills and perspectives,” said John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management, in a statement announcing the rule change. “It’s important to recruit, hire, develop and retain a competitive and diverse workforce, so that we tap the potential of all groups — including Americans with disabilities.”