The number of people with disabilities employed by the federal government increased 9 percent in fiscal 2011, according to a recent report from the Office of Personnel Management.
The government employed 187,313 people with disabilities in fiscal 2010, and 204,189 in 2011, the July 25 report said. That means the percentage of the federal workforce with disabilities increased from 10.7 percent to 11 percent.
“This is more people with disabilities in federal service both in real terms and by percentage than at any time in the past 20 years,” OPM Director John Berry said in the report’s foreword. “While we still have work to do, we remain committed to becoming a model for the employment of people with disabilities.”
The increase suggests that President Obama’s effort to increase federal job opportunities for people with disabilities is working. Obama issued an executive order in July 2010 that required agencies to increase their recruitment, hiring and retention of people with disabilities. All agencies have since finished action plans outlining how they are going to accomplish that mission. Also, more than 2,000 employees from at least 56 agencies have been trained on recruitment techniques, the proper hiring authority exceptions, how to accommodate them and how to help employees who become ill or injured on the job return to work.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency with the highest percentage — more than 18 percent — of employees with disabilities. The Defense Department, Veterans Affairs Department, Federal Reserve System and OPM are other leading agencies, the report said.