By Molly Bernhart Walker,
More people with disabilities were federal employees in 2013 than any time in the past 33 years, both in real and percentage terms, says the Office of Personnel Management.
At the close of fiscal 2013, federal employees with disabilities totaled 234,395 – an increase of 14,420 employees from the previous year. That increase brought federal disabled population to 12.80 percent of the total federal workforce, found a November report (pdf) from OPM.
In fiscal 2013, 16,024 new hires were people with disabilities, representing an increase from 16.31 percent in fiscal 2012 to 18.18 percent in fiscal 2013.
“As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal government must become a model for the employment of individuals with disabilities,” wrote OPM Director Katherine Archuleta in the report’s foreword.
Among executive branch departments the Veterans Affairs Department employed the most people with disabilities in fiscal 2013. The population made up more than 13 percent of the VA’s workforce. The Labor Department ranked second, with more than 10 percent of its employees having disabilities, followed by the Treasury Department with just more than 9 percent, according to the report.
In a July 2010, with the signing of Executive Order 13548 (pdf), President Obama set a goal for federal agencies and departments to hire 100,000 people with disabilities by 2015. Archuleta noted that the government is making steady progress toward that goal and it will continue to guide agencies in this area.
The report said employees from more than 56 agencies have been trained on recruitment techniques and providing reasonable accommodations. OPM, with the help of agencies, has also developed an online course on the hiring of disabled persons, which is available for free to all agencies through HR University.
For more: – download the report, “Report on the Employment of Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Executive Branch for Fiscal Year 2013” (.pdf)