U.S. Department of Labor steps up efforts to serve workers with disabilities

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) joined President Obama today in underscoring the administration's commitment to serving every American worker, including the 54 million people across the nation living with disabilities.

"No artificial barriers should prevent individuals from reaching their potential in the workplace and contributing their skills to our nation," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

As part of its efforts, in early 2010, ODEP will collaborate with other agencies to sponsor and organize a day-long federal government-wide job fair for people with disabilities. At this event, ODEP, the Office of Personnel Management, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Defense's Computer and Electronic Accommodations Program will provide workshops on the Schedule A hiring authority, the right to the provision of reasonable accommodations, and information on assistive and communications technology.

"At the Department of Labor, our goal is good jobs for everyone, and we mean people with disabilities too," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez.

This year's NDEAM theme is "Expectation + Opportunity = Full Participation ." In recognition of NDEAM, Assistant Secretary Martinez, will be speaking to federal employees at the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Treasury, and Labor (Atlanta Region), National Defense University, an employer symposium in Corpus Christi, Texas, sponsored by the Texas Department of Rehabilitative Services, and a Disability and Human Rights forum in Hartford, Conn., co-sponsored by the University of Connecticut's Law School and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

ODEP is leading a 21st century federal response to the historic underemployment of people with disabilities. In collaboration with other government agencies, public and private employers, and additional stakeholders, ODEP facilitates the development and implementation of innovative policies and practices necessary to achieve a fully inclusive workplace. ODEP's work primarily falls into three categories: employers and the workplace; workforce systems; and employment-related supports, which include education and training, health care, reliable transportation, affordable housing and assistive technology.