Press Release

EEOC REPORT HIGHLIGHTS STATES' EFFORTS TO EMPLOY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
10-29-04

Best Practices in Recruitment, Hiring, Training, and Reasonable Accommodation Emerge from Federal-State Partnership Project

WASHINGTON The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released a report detailing efforts to employ more people with disabilities in state government jobs. The Interim Report on Best Practices for the Employment of People with Disabilities in State Government, available at www.eeoc.gov, contains findings from the States' Best Practices Project, which was launched by the EEOC in December 2003. This report highlights practices in four states Florida, Maryland, Vermont, and Washington related to the recruitment, hiring, retention, advancement, and accommodation of qualified individuals with disabilities.

As one of many EEOC activities under President George W. Bush's New Freedom Initiative, the States' Best Practices Project has two purposes. One is to disseminate nationwide best practices that other states (as well as local governments and private employers) can learn from and replicate. The EEOC is also offering free, informal technical assistance to participating states in order to enhance voluntary compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"State agencies serve as an excellent source of employment opportunities for qualified people with disabilities," said Commission Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "Currently, our 50 states employ over five million workers in a variety of occupations. By sharing their best practices with the Nation, state governments participating in this partnership make a significant contribution toward the full access and inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace."

The governors of the four states already engaged in this project personally approved their states' voluntary participation. The governors of Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah also have agreed to be partners in the effort. A final report detailing the best practices of all participating states will be issued in October 2005.

The best practices highlighted in the interim report include:

  • Targeted outreach to organizations of and for people with disabilities as part of states' diversity programs;
  • Hiring and training programs specifically designed to bring people with disabilities into a state's workforce;
  • Mentoring and internship programs that give people with disabilities practical work experience and provide them with information about career opportunities;
  • Training for hiring officials, managers, supervisors, and other state personnel on the ADA's requirements related to applicants and employees with disabilities; and
  • Use of written procedures for providing reasonable accommodations and other measures that help ensure timeliness and fairness of that process.

In addition to efforts specifically related to state employment, the four states surveyed have undertaken actions that may generally promote the employment of people with disabilities.

  • In 2004, for example, Florida created the Agency on Persons with Disabilities and Maryland elevated its Office on Individuals with Disabilities to cabinet-level status.
  • Washington has established a state-wide Task Force on the Employment of Adults with Disabilities for the purpose of bringing the state's employment rate for people with disabilities in line with that of the general public.
  • Vermont has participated in a pilot project to establish "disability program navigators" at four state One Stop Career Centers created by the federal Workforce Investment Act. The centers bring together the services of various federal employment-related programs in one place at the local level, and the navigators are designed to help people with disabilities access these services more easily.

In addition to enforcing Title I of the ADA, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments, and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government, the EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; the Equal Pay Act; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.


This page was last modified on October 29, 2004.