Despite a federal commitment to hiring employees with disabilities, federal managers are “not prepared” to hire and supervise workers with disabilities in the workplace, according to a new survey by the Federal Managers Association and Telework Exchange.
Of 513 employees who were surveyed, the study found nearly half reported they had not received adequate training to effectively manage or retain employees with disabilities. Some 58 percent were not aware of an federal mandate issued ten years ago that ordered agencies to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
“On the surface, I think people thought, ‘Our agency really is committed to hiring people with disabilities,’ ” said Cindy Auten, general manager of the Telework Exchange. “But looking at what they’re actually implementing, there is a gap in terms of providing reasonable accommodations …”
… The percentage of the federal workforce with targeted disabilities – deafness, blindness, missing limbs, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, mental retardation, mental illness and limb or spine distortions – dropped from 0.96 percent in fiscal 1998 to 0.92 percent in fiscal 2007, according to a report issued last year by the government’s National Council on Disability. The number of those employees declined by more than 14 percent over that period, from 28,035 to 23,993.