According to the Office of Personnel Management, the number of disabled federal workers has increased by 9 percent in fiscal 2011. The federal government employed more than 200,000 workers with disabilities in 2011, increasing the total number of disabled feds still employed by 11 percent. In addition to the total number of disabled employees, the government has also seen an increase in new hires of disabled workers, from 10.3 percent in fiscal 2010 to 14.7 in fiscal 2011; bringing the number of new government employees with disabilities to 18,738.
John Berry, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, said, “This is more people with disabilities in federal service both in real terms and by percentage than at any time in the past 20 years,” and that, “While we still have work to do, we remain committed to becoming a model for the employment of people with disabilities.”
As the federal government has seen their number of disabled employees rise, current employees are also learning how to recruit and hire people with disabilities, how to accommodate these individuals in the workplace and to assist employees who are injured on the job or become ill, return to work.
Of the agencies within the federal government, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employs the highest percentage of disabled workers, at 18 percent, followed by Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department. The Office of Personnel Management is one of the many agencies that most frequently hired new workers with disabilities. Eleven percent of OPM’s workforce is made up of disabled workers.