Hiring Individuals with Disabilities: Schedule A

Goodwill Industries International sent out information this week about the update on hiring people with disabilities for federal jobs using the schedule A. Since I find this information helpful I wanted to share it as part of my post this week.

First: What is Schedule A?

Schedule A is an excepted service hiring authority available to federal agencies to hire and/or to promote individuals with disabilities without competing for a job. What this means is that people with a disability, providing they fill out this form, are given first priority for federal jobs.

Utilizing the Schedule A hiring authority to fill a vacancy allows federal agencies to avoid using the traditional, and sometimes lengthy, competitive hiring process. You are eligible for a Schedule A appointment if you are a person with a severe physical or mental disability, and meet the qualifications of the job in question. There are no specific definitions as to what qualifies as a “severe mental or physical disability” under Schedule A.

With the new rule issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) the process has been simplified. The final rule relieves people with disabilities of the burden of procuring “certificates of readiness,” in order to prove their eligibility.

Washington, DC – The new regulations are consistent with the President’s policy of removing barriers and encouraging the employment of individuals with disabilities in the federal workforce, as expressed in Executive Order 13548, Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals With Disabilities.

“We deliver the best results to the American people when we include all parts of our society in our workforce, and take full advantage of their skills and perspectives,” said OPM Director, John Berry. “It’s important to recruit, hire, develop and retain a competitive and diverse workforce, so that we tap the potential of all groups – including Americans with disabilities.”
Previously, an individual with a disability who wished to be appointed under the Schedule A authority was required not only to establish that he or she had a qualifying disability but also to submit a “certification of job readiness,” essentially a formal written assessment, by a medical professional, vocational rehabilitation specialist, or disability benefit agency, that the applicant could reasonably be expected to perform in a particular work environment. This final rule removes the requirement for a certification of job readiness. Now an applicant will only need to establish that he or she has a qualifying disability.

Schedule A Hiring Authority for persons with disabilities is one of the tools the federal government uses to accomplish the goals of Executive Order 13548. In FY 2011, people with disabilities represented 7.96 percent of all new hires. When veterans who are 30 percent or more disabled are included, people with disabilities represent 14.7 percent of all new hires or 18,738 people.

To view the final regulations on the Federal Register, visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/22/2013-04095/appointment-of-persons-with-intellectual-disabilities-severe-physical-disabilities-and-psychiatric. Also for more information visit: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/disability-employment/hiring/#url=Overview

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