OPM/Labor hiring event: the time is now

In October 2009, President Barack Obama announced a groundbreaking initiative to increase the employment of people with disabilities in the Federal Workforce. C...

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

The number of people with disabilities in the federal workforce has been getting smaller year after year for the past 16 years or so. Until this year.

“I just learned yesterday from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,” Christine Griffin, Deputy Director at the Office of Personnel Management told Federal News Radio, “is that this is the first year that it actually stayed the same as the previous year. So it did not decrease.”

Now that the pendulum may have hit its apex, Griffin hopes to get it swinging back in the other direction. The federal government, said Griffin, is made up of less than one percent (0.88%) or roughly 24,000 total of people with disabilities “and that’s why we’re doing an event like we’re having on Monday.”

On Monday, OPM and the U. S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) are sponsoring a historic day-long Federal Hiring Event for People with Disabilities.

Griffin said e-mail was sent out and more than 4,000 people responded responded. At the same time, agencies were asked for lists of openings. The end result is that at more than 500 interviews will be conducted by “over 50 agencies coming to interview people for jobs, and specifically people with disabilities for openings that they have.”

Not just informational interviews, said Griffin, but real interviews for real jobs. “Hopefully at the end of the interview, the agency will have the opportunity to extend a conditional job offer to whoever they interview.”

The “event” is not the normal job fair. In terms of the sheer scale, said Griffin, “we’ve never done this before. I don’t think anyone’s ever done this before, and so we’re learning a lot. And what we hope to do is replicate this in other parts of the country.”

Afterwards, Griffin said, the hope is to be able to take lessons learned from the event and take it on the road to regions across the country.

“This is an untapped talent pool in this country and we have seen nothing but some great candidates,” said Griffin.

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