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Government Faulted on Hiring, Retaining Workers with Disabilities
 

By SHRM Online staff  4/6/2010

A new report looking at federal agencies’ hiring, retaining and effective management of employees with disabilities finds shortfalls and key areas for improvement.

The Alexandria, Va.-based Telework Exchange released its report, “Unnecessary Barriers,” March 29, 2010. The findings are from an online survey conducted Jan. 25-Feb. 5, 2010, with 513 federal government employees involved in hiring or managing employees. Among respondents, 69 percent work in federal civilian agencies and 31 percent work in Department of Defense agencies.

While 71 percent of federal employees think that their agency is committed to hiring employees with disabilities, only half say their agency is equipped to make good on its commitment. Among the findings:

  • 84 percent think their organization offers reasonable accommodations, but few offer telework, technical support, job-share options or personal care assistance.
  • 72 percent of respondents at agencies that lack the proper tools and knowledge about hiring and retaining Americans with disabilities see stereotypes as a barrier.
  • 54 percent of employees at agencies that lack the proper tools and knowledge report that they are not prepared adequately to provide accommodations.
  • 50 percent say their agency has the knowledge and tools needed to hire, retain and promote employees with disabilities.
  • 46 percent say their agency is not monitoring progress, or they are unsure if they are monitoring progress, related to the hiring, advancement and/or retention of employees with disabilities.
  • 45 percent of federal managers have not received adequate training to retain employees with disabilities effectively.
  • 44 percent don’t know who is responsible for decisions related to the hiring, advancement and/or retention of employees with disabilities in their agency.
  • 40 percent of federal managers have not received adequate training to manage employees with disabilities effectively.

Kareem Dale, special assistant to the president for disability policy, was scheduled to discuss the findings April 8, 2010, at a Spring Telework Exchange Town Hall Meeting.

Telework Exchange recommends securing management’s commitment to workers with disabilities and monitoring that progress; training hiring and program managers on recruiting, managing and retaining workers with disabilities; educating managers on key mandates and advocating for equal opportunity; and offering improved physical access, communications and technical accommodations.

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