Back in September 2013, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced changes to require covered companies to take steps to hire and advance the employment of people with disabilities. This has coincided with a much longer push by the Executive branch to employ more individuals with disabilities.
According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, this focus is paying off. In a recent report, the OPM found that the federal government had hired added 16,653 new employees with disabilities, which brought the total number of employees with disabilities to 220,000. The full report is available here.
In tough economic times, workers with disabilities face enormous challenges. Employers are often not willing to offer any flexibility or make even a small workplace accommodation. The end result is that in December 2013 the unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 11.9%, almost double the rate for those without disabilities.
The Federal government is doing the right thing on this one. Hopefully, this will inspire the private sector to take similar actions.