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Obama orders agencies to hire more people with disabilities

Jul. 27, 2010 - 06:00AM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments
President Obama signed an executive order July 26 that called for OPM, OMB, the Labor Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to design recruitment and hiring strategies that agencies can use as a model for hiring more people with disabilities within 60 days.
President Obama signed an executive order July 26 that called for OPM, OMB, the Labor Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to design recruitment and hiring strategies that agencies can use as a model for hiring more people with disabilities within 60 days. (Jewel Samad / AFP via Getty Images)

President Obama yesterday ordered federal agencies to hire 100,000 more employees with disabilities over the next five years.

Obama signed an executive order that called for the Office of Personnel Management, Office of Management and Budget, Labor Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to design recruitment and hiring strategies that agencies can use as a model for hiring more people with disabilities within 60 days.

Obama also mandated that hiring managers and human resources staffs be trained on how to employ people with disabilities. OPM, Labor and EEOC will design those training programs.

After OPM, Labor and EEOC develop recruitment and hiring strategies, agencies have 120 days to develop specific goals for employing people with disabilities. Those plans may need to be approved by OPM and OMB.

Each agency will also have to put a senior-level official in charge of improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Those officials will oversee the development of their agencies' plans, create recruitment and training programs, and coordinate employment counseling.

Obama also said agencies should increase their use of Schedule A excepted service hiring authority to hire more people with disabilities, and increase their participation in internships, fellowships and training and mentoring programs. And agencies should make a special effort to retain disabled people, and do more to help employees seriously injured on the job return to work, Obama said.

President Clinton first set a five-year goal of hiring 100,000 more people with disabilities in 2000, but Obama said the Bush administration did little to follow up on Clinton's executive order. In his order, Obama promised the government would meet that goal.

"We're going to boost recruitment, we're going to boost training, we're going to boost retention," Obama said during a White House ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. "We'll better train hiring managers. And I expect regular reports, and we're going to post our progress online so that you can hold us accountable too."

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