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Equal Employment Opportunity is the law. But more than this, it is the key to building a diverse, team-oriented, and productive workforce.
Unfortunately, there is evidence that citizens with disabilities have frequently been denied the chance to show their job skills and potential.
Persons with disabilities are now entering the work force in increasing numbers. In fact, in this increasingly competitive employment market no organization can afford to let any individual be excluded from contributing to the fullest extent possible.
As a State agency manager or supervisor, you have an important role in ensuring that your workplace is open to the full participation of qualified employees with disabilities. Every state agency supervisor is ultimately responsible for the fair employment and advancement of qualified people with disabilities. This includes recruitment, hiring, training, career development, and considering reasonable job accommodations when requested.
People with disabilities face numerous barriers every day from physical obstacles in buildings to procedural barriers in employment, government programs, and business services. Yet, often, the most difficult barriers to overcome are attitudes other people carry regarding people with disabilities. Whether a product of ignorance, fear, or misunderstanding, these attitudes often keep people from appreciating the full potential a person with a disability can achieve.
Unfortunately, the most insidious and pervasive negative attitude is simply focusing on a person's disability rather than on an individual's abilities. Even well-meaning supervisors who believe in "helping" people with disabilities can exhibit unconscious misconceptions. As a state supervisor you should examine your own attitudes and habits. Commit yourself to learn more - and do more. Refer to the links below for important tips on recognizing and overcoming attitudinal barriers in the workplace.
How to Learn More
Obviously, vigorous compliance with laws against discrimination in the workplace is essential. Equally, and perhaps more important, is the voluntary effort you make to welcome qualified persons with disabilities into the workforce.
It would be impossible to cover all the important topics related to the employment of persons with disabilities in this brief page. In fact, many excellent information resources are already available on the web.
You can start be reading the information provided by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor. We especially recommend that you read the programs and on-line publications sections.
To learn more about your responsibilities under current equal employment law, and actions you can take to increase opportunities for persons with disabilities, please refer to the Disabilities and ADA Information on our Links page.
What you should know about the Selective Placement Program.
The Division of Personnel and the Division of Rehabilitation Services have joined in the development of applicant evaluation and placement procedures which both preserve merit principles and increase opportunity.
While most persons with disabilities will be hired through the standard competitive evaluation process, agencies are encouraged to cooperate with appropriate rehabilitation professionals in providing the maximum job opportunities to qualified applicant with severe disabilities who may require special job accommodation or special skills assessment.
In addition to testing accommodations, a Selective Placement Program is available to enable qualified persons with severe disabilities the opportunity to receive individualized, position specific skills evaluations in place of the regular competitive examination process.
Applicants whose skills are assessed under the Selective Placement Program may be hired into probationary, provisional, temporary, or any other recognized status, and shall be entitled to all rights of that status.
Regardless of the evaluation method, current rules for the performance evaluation of employees in probationary status shall apply. Employees hired through testing accommodations or Selective Placement will be granted permanent status, at the discretion of the Appointing Authority, upon successful completion of the prescribed probationary period.
If you would like to learn how your agency might benefit from a more targeted approach to the employment of qualified persons with disabilities, contact the Division of Personnel, Test Construction and Research Unit (558-3950 x57206), or the Division of Rehabilitation Services.
For a more detailed discussion of the Selective Placement Program and the role of the DRS Counselor/Employment Specialist, refer to the Information for Rehabilitation Professionals.
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