I was reading the US White House Office of Public Engagement blog (October 31, 2011) in where Kathleen Martinez is Assistant Secretary of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor was writing some of the accomplish that her agency has done over the last 10 years to help person with disability to get a job and removing these barriers.
My comments as followed in response to her feel good statements that are misleading in regards to person with disability in having opportunities for employment
Person with disability are still continue denied access to Jobs at all levels of Federal, State, County, and Local Government with an unemployment rate of 66% with as much higher for severely disabled at 80% unemployment rate.
The Federal Government has been study job disability discrimination for over 90 years since the Smith/Fess Act of 1920 was created, and created the October disability awareness (day) in 1945 by President Harry Truman to study, reasearch and solved these problems.
The Federal Government still allows agencies to set policies and procedures of what qualification for entry-level positions are. What I mean is the when a job call is produce (US JOBS) and it said that the requirements is that we will train you to do the job and no experience need. Then why classified this basic job entry-level at GS 7 or higher which means the person has to have at least a Master degree or at least 150 college credits with 2 years experience. You don’t need that for a basic entry-level job will train you type of job. OPM still allows this type of discrimination to continue. Even the State Vocational Rehabilitation Office will only paid for up to a 2 year degree or some type of training that get you back in workforce in less than 2 years. Which not enough to get someone to a master degree to qualified for a GS 7 or higher. I’m not advocating that we lower the standards and qualification of a job to just give someone a job, but when the qualification state know nothing we will train you. Then you need to have qualifications that meet the needs of that job.
The Federal Government still fails to comply with Federal Law (Section 504) in make sure that Disability Manager are hired at all levels of government, for which these are what need to help these agencies meet its diversity goals.
The Federal Government still fails to comply with Federal Law (Section 503) in making sure that in Federal Contracts that there is an affirmative action plan in place to hired person with a disability when receiving these contracts.
If the Federal Government is serious about hiring person with disability then its needs to actually start hiring qualified person with a disability.
Solutions to problem;
- Federal Government Office of Personal Management (OPM) needs to draft and implement job classification/duties for both Disability Manger and Disability Contractor Manger. This will stop the practices of collateral duties for which the person does the job when they can get it done after their primary job classification is completed.
- Federal Government needs to start enforcing current Disability Civil Rights laws to move person with disabilities back into the workforce.
- Federal Government needs to hold accountable all Federal Grants given out to ensure that person with a disability have an equal opportunity just like everyone to apply and receive these grants.
Final comment if the Federal Government thinks they are doing a great job why is the unemployment rate for person with disability for the last 66 years have relativity stay the same or increase is certain areas of the country.