Agencies employ 2.9 percent of people with disabilities

Thursday - 8/26/2010, 3:59pm EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The federal government employs about 2.9 percent of all people with disabilities.

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics found that agencies employ 3.2 percent of all men with disabilities, and 2.7 percent of all women, who are considered disabled.

These numbers are little bit more than the total percentage of non-disabled people across the country who work for the government.

BLS issued its 2009 report on labor force characteristics about persons with disabilities. BLS found that the federal government employs about 2.6 percent of all employees without disabilities in the country.

And when BLS breaks down by the employee's gender, the percentage of employees without disabilities is lower. BLS states of all employees without disabilities 2.7 percent of men and 2.4 percent of women are federal workers.

The report states that overall about 16 percent of all persons with disabilities work in the public sector-federal, state or local government. This is one percent higher than the overall number of people without disabilities who work for the public sector. In both the public and private sectors, 19.2 percent of all persons with disabilities were employed last year.

BLS's report comes as the Labor Department and the White House are placing a bigger focus on employment for persons with disabilities.

The White House issued an executive order in July promising that the government will hire more persons with disabilities. Among the provisions in the executive order is improving access for persons with disabilities to federal websites.

By the end of September, Labor, the chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Management and Budget "shall design model recruitment and hiring strategies for agencies seeking to increase their employment of people with disabilities and develop mandatory training programs for both human resources personnel and hiring managers on the employment of individuals with disabilities."

And by November, the Office of Personnel Management will develop strategies and programs to help agencies meet their goals of increased hiring and mandatory training. Each agency plan must include performance targets and specific goals for employment of people with disabilities as well as sub goals for employment of individuals with targeted disabilities.

In addition to agencies, Labor issued a proposed rule that seems to indicate that federal contractors might face placement goals for hiring disabled workers.

Labor is seeking industry input on 18 questions. Comments are due by Sept. 21.

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