PCPID Quarterly Meeting: September 9–10, 2008
President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Announcements, Meeting Announcements, Publication (Documents and Resources), Meeting Minutes
- Meeting Minutes, Meeting Announcement
Chairman Rhatigan then turned the time over to Linda Starnes to introduce Jo Linda Johnson from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Ms. Johnson began by citing some statistics regarding people with disabilities in the Federal workforce, noting that as the number of Federal employees has increased, the number of Federal employees with disabilities has continued to decrease. She stated the EEOC tracks nine targeted disabilities and that less than 1 percent of the total Federal workforce has one of the nine targeted disabilities.
Ms. Johnson reviewed the slides in her presentation that presented the top five and bottom five agencies in the Federal Government that hire people with disabilities. She noted that efforts are currently under way to address the issues at the bottom five agencies and increase the number of people with disabilities working in those agencies.
Ms. Johnson noted that, on average, people with disabilities in the Federal workforce have lower grades and lower pay than the Federal workforce at large. She also noted that even when broken out into sexes, or racial and ethnic origins, people with disabilities still have the lowest rate of pay within the Federal workforce.
Ms. Johnson noted the EEOC has been devising strategies to address the issues previously mentions. She noted that the number one solution is for agencies to make hiring individuals with disabilities a priority. She noted that EEOC requires every agency to set goals for hiring people with disabilities, but not all agencies have. Ms. Johnson stated that another solution is to train Federal hiring managers on their responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act, and their responsibilities for accommodating people with disabilities in the workplace.
Ms. Johnson stated the benefits of using the Schedule A hiring authority including the ability to fill positions more quickly and without going through the normal competitive process. She noted that she had brought brochures that described the process for using the Schedule A hiring authority and that the brochures were written for the various HR professionals that will need the information.
Ms. Johnson addressed the issue of discovering people with disabilities that are looking for employment and noted in particular the Employer Assistance Network (EARN), the WRP, and the Veterans Employment Training Service—all out of the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor (DOL). She also stated that advocacy and recruitment networks serve as a useful tool in finding potential employees with disabilities.
Ms. Johnson highlighted the CAP program that provides all partner Federal agencies with technology-related accommodations at no cost. She stressed the importance of awareness about the CAP program given that many hiring managers cite the cost of accommodations as a barrier to employing people with disabilities.
Ms. Johnson then took questions from the audience.
In response to a question, Ms. Johnson addressed the issue of finding the selective placement coordinator in each office and noted that agencies are not required to have one, but that OPM maintains a list.
In response to a question, Ms. Johnson noted that the CAP program does not extend to Federal contractors and that she is unaware of how Federal contractors are doing with regards to hiring people with disabilities as those numbers are not collected either by EEOC or the Office of Federal Contract Compliance in DOL. She also noted that while Federal agencies are not prohibited from providing accommodations for contractors, they are not required to either.
In response to a question, Ms. Johnson stated that the targeted disability group that saw the largest decline in hiring was hearing impairment, but that there are no data regarding which targeted disability group has the most difficulty finding Federal employment.
In response to a question, Ms. Johnson explained that she cannot provide specific information on people with intellectual disabilities because EEOC is currently working on the larger problem of reversing the trend of decreasing Federal employees with disabilities and has not yet focused on the individual disability groups. She also noted that regardless of the disability, she feels that the problem is the same: individual agencies and hiring managers are making the decision that they don’t want to hire people with disabilities because of a belief that they are inherently less qualified or too difficult to accommodate.
In response to a question, Ms. Johnson stated the importance of tracking applicant flow data so that agencies can track their progress and improve their efforts to employ more people with disabilities. Dr. Giannini noted that agencies can do a better job at outreach and Ms. Johnson stated that some agencies had already begun improving their outreach efforts. She made particular note of the Department of Treasury.
Ms. Johnson noted that EEOC Commissioner Griffin often speaks at the same events as Joyce Bender and that afterwards, people are excited and interested in working with them, but that it often falls through because they are unable to find a way to work Ms. Bender’s program into their contracting. Ms. Johnson noted that the solutions are out there, they are just not considered or made a priority. She also noted that Federal regional offices generally do a better job than the central offices.
In response to a comment, Ms. Johnson agreed that there are some serious problems with how the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hires new Federal employees, but noted that they are taking steps to improve the process.
In response to a question, Ms. Johnson noted that OPM had recently made an offer of employment to a new disability policy liaison. She also stated that if someone wanted to apply for a position within an agency, they could first check to see if the HR department has a selective placement coordinator or disability program manager, and then ask them if they know how to use Schedule A.
Chairman Rhatigan thanked Ms. Johnson for her remarks and then called for a 10 minute break.
Upon concluding the break, Chairman Rhatigan called for the Committee to break into subcommittees to discuss the proceedings from the previous day’s forum and report back to the full Committee on the subcommittees’ work.
The Committee then broke into subcommittees, after which they recessed for the remainder of the day.