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The White House

President Obama Announces New Initiatives during National Disability Employment Month

Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 October 5, 2009

President Obama Announces New Initiatives During National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Washington, D.C.  – President Obama today announced that his Administration is taking several steps to ensure that there is fair and equal access to employment for all Americans, particularly the 54 million people in this country living with disabilities.  The announcement comes during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
"My Administration is committed to ensuring that all Americans have the chance to fulfill their potential and contribute to our nation," said President Obama.  "Across this country, millions of people with disabilities are working or want to work, and they should have access to the support and services they need to succeed.  As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government and its contractors can lead the way by implementing effective employment policies and practices that increase opportunities and help workers achieve their full potential. We must also rededicate ourselves to fostering an inclusive work culture that welcomes the skills and talents of all qualified employees. That’s why I’ve asked the responsible agencies to develop new plans and policies to help increase employment across America for people with disabilities."

The following are some of the steps the Obama Administration will take:
  • The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) will collaborate to sponsor and organize a day long Federal Government-wide job fair for people with disabilities.  The Fair will take place in early spring 2010.  In addition to the Job Fair, OPM, ODEP, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and  the Department of Defense's office on Computer and Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) will provide workshops throughout the day on a variety of topics including the Schedule A hiring waiver and the right to the provision of reasonable accommodations including information on assistive and communications technology
  • OPM will develop training on Schedule A for federal Human Resources specialists, hiring managers and selective placement coordinators that will be easily accessible and includes on line training.
  • EEOC and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division will hold four Town Hall meetings throughout the nation to share information about the ADA Amendments Act proposed regulations and to gather comments on them.  All Town Hall meetings will consist of two sessions - one for disability advocates and one for the employer community. These sessions will be completed by November 20th. The four locations are Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and New Orleans.
  • The Department of Justice will release a video that will identify and respond to a number of common myths held by employers about workers with disabilities. 
  • OPM will create and lead a task force comprised of representatives from key Federal Departments and Agencies that have developed and implemented model practices for recruiting, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities.  The task force will report on the innovative practices agencies use to encourage the employment of individuals with disabilities.  The report will identify and promote successful practices for conducting outreach, recruiting, hiring qualified candidates, successful accommodations, and providing opportunities for career advancement at all levels.