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New Hiring Toolkit for Federal Agencies

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Classic government building and two people shaking hands
In order to assist federal agencies in employing and retaining people with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) released its online toolkit earlier this month. While the move is a result of the Executive Order 13548 that President Obama issued last July to improve employment of people with disabilities in federal departments and agencies—the nation’s largest employer—the toolkit can be used as a model for any employer who’s looking to increase hiring of people with disabilities. Through this EO, roughly 100,000 employees with disabilities will be added to the ranks of federal agencies and departments by 2015.

“This online toolkit is designed to make it easy for federal employers to find and hire excellent workers who happen to have disabilities,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. “Federal agencies—and all employers—are strengthened when they include people with disabilities among their ranks.”

In its online toolkit, the ODEP lays out five crucial steps to enhance and increase the employment of people with disabilities.

Step One: Training.  The ODEP maintains that employers need to educate themselves on promising employment practices including learning about how to properly use Schedule A—proof of a disability and certification of job readiness—to hire people with disabilities. Links are provided for more information.

Step Two: Creating a Welcoming Environment. This is where the ODEP encourages employers to ensure an accessible workplace by offering user-friendly online applications, and it provides tips on how to create accessible web sites, as well as the “do’s and don’ts” of job analysis, communication, medical information, accommodations and worksite accessibility.

Step Three: Recruitment. Employers are inspired to attract a talented pipeline of workers with disabilities in this step. The ODEP offers a primer on diversifying your workplace, as well as information on how to recruit young people with disabilities, and how to use strategic connections in recruiting people with disabilities.

Step Four: Hiring. This section educates employers on the basics of the Schedule A letter as well as an overview of federal disability hiring practices. Also, the ODEP provides resources to help employers hire more veterans.

Step Five: Retention. In this section, the ODEP suggests ways for employers to keep valued employees with disabilities in the workplace. Information is provided on customized employment and flexible work arrangements, as well as on a return-to-work toolkit; and it’s a spot where the ODEP educates employers on how to retain wounded warrior employees and help them succeed on the job.

For more information, visit the online toolkit at http://www.dol.gov/odep/federal-hire/.