The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



New Report Provides Sobering Statistics and Roadmap for Agencies to Improve Hiring and Advancement

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a comprehensive report addressing strategies to reverse the declining participation rate of federal employees with targeted disabilities. The full text of the report, Improving the Participation Rate of People with Targeted Disabilities in the Federal Work Force, is available on the EEOC’s web site at

Despite initiatives from numerous administrations, the percentage of federal employees with targeted disabilities has declined each year since reaching a peak of 1.24% in fiscal years (FYs) 1993 and 1994. In FY 2006, the participation rate of people with targeted disabilities declined to 0.94% of the federal government’s total work force, the lowest participation rate in more than 20 years. Targeted disabilities include deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, mental retardation, mental illness, and distortion of the limb and/or spine.

The EEOC report reiterates the call for the federal government to be the nation’s model employer, providing equal opportunity to all Americans, including those with disabilities. The report incorporates the best practices and innovative measures taken by agencies that have embraced the issue. The report also addresses agency policies and practices that may serve as barriers for individuals with disabilities.

“We undertook this review to examine impediments in the federal sector to the hiring and advancement of people with targeted disabilities, as well as to showcase agency best practices that are making a real difference,” said Carlton Hadden, Director of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO), which prepared the report. “Our goal is to ensure that the federal government is the employer of first choice for individuals with disabilities.”

In June 2006, under the leadership of Commissioner Christine M. Griffin, the EEOC launched the LEAD Initiative (Leadership for the Employment of Americans with Disabilities). Through LEAD, the EEOC is reaching out to agency leaders, HR personnel and hiring officials, to encourage them to hire and advance more individuals with targeted disabilities.

Commenting on the prolonged shortage of federal employees with targeted disabilities, Commissioner Griffin said, “This decline of individuals with severe disabilities employed by the federal government is into its second decade. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies have an affirmative action requirement to hire and advance individuals with disabilities, yet 35 long years later there is little progress. Agency leaders must make this issue a priority.”

Griffin, a legal expert and long-time advocate for the disability community, continued: “The federal government is supposed to be the model employer. Some agencies have embraced this concept when it comes to individuals with targeted disabilities, but most have not. Very few agencies are actually setting hiring goals or making concrete plans to meet those goals. This must change.”

“This report offers practical, concrete solutions that federal agencies can immediately implement to improve their recruiting, hiring, and retention of people with severe disabilities. OFO has provided agencies with a great tool. Now it’s up to agencies to use it.”

Further information about the LEAD Initiative is available on the EEOC’s web site at The EEOC monitors federal agency compliance with equal employment opportunity laws and procedures. Additional about the EEOC and its role in the federal sector is available on its web site at

This page was last modified on January 15, 2008.

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