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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Obama: Who Does the Federal Government Hire?

The Federal Employment of People with Disabilities report was released March 31, 2009 by the National Council on Disability. And to answer the question I have titled to this post the answer is... Not people with a disability! According to the Executive Summary of the very official, long (66 pages) document this what I discovered.

In 2007 the Federal Government employed 2,608,172 people.

In 2007 only 23,969 people employed by the Federal Government had a disability.

In 2007 the percentage of those employed by the Federal Government with a disability was 0.92%

Think about this for a second: 0.92% of Federal Employees had a disability. This is staggering. Less than 1% of the people hired by the Federal Government had a disability. To coin one of the most famous lines to emerge from NASA "Houston we have a problem". Let me highlight this number:


Is this stunning figure mentioned in a newspaper or other media outlet? Nope, not a word. Did Obama have some sort of reaction? Nope, not a word. Did CNN pick up on this? Nope, not a word. The Wall Street Journal? Nope, not a word. The TV morning shows? Nope, not a word. Worse yet, I did not think much about it until I had coffee this morning and started planning my day and thought I need to got to the post office--a place where Federal Government employees work. Then I thought about all the other places I visit where Federal and State employees work and it dawned on me: I have never, not once, ever observed a visibly disabled person working for the government. Not a one. Isn't the government supposed to reflect the people? If so, where is the largest minority group in the country? Invisible as in unemployed. Perhaps we can learn a very basic lesson here for the economic stimulus package: have the federal government hire people with a disability. Obama need not be shy--nearly 70% of people with a disability are unemployed and desperate for work. Don't worry we don't bite.


Rachel said...

actually... I think you might bite!! *wink*

william Peace said...

Rachel, You made me laugh out loud! I really am a nice guy. Well, may be not. My son who is now 17 years old is convinced I am dumb as a post. I am sure there is much I will learn while he attends college. When I was his age I thought much the same about my father.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I wonder how much of the government is exempt from ADA ... you know the gov't tends to love that "do as I say not as I do" thing. From there some people reason "since I don't have to there's no reason why I should". Especially if they think they perceive some potential inconvenience to themselves.

william Peace said...

Laura, I am not sure exempt is the right word in terms of the ADA but government buildings are often inaccessible. Here I refer to post office, motor vehicle, courts, town halls, recreation facilities, fire houses, police stations, etc. In fact I tease a friend that if I am ever arrested I am in good position because none of the local state trooper headquarters are accessible. In fact the lack of access at many federal buildings led to a famous protest to support the need for the ADA in which activists crawled up a flight of stairs. The images were moving and provocative.

Mike Matter said...

This is a very good point and I just wanted to stop by and say that it's good to see someone address this issue.

william Peace said...

Mike, The big problem is the main stream media totally ignores the issues that prevent people with a disability from leading an ordinary life. Unemployment is at the top of that list of problems.

BeoBill said...

The post office claims to not be part of the federal government. That's a lie! Demand your rights! If you doubt what I said just look at any auto-vehicle, your vehicle, UPS vehicle, Fed-ex vehicle, my vehicle. We all are taxed for registration plates to be on the road. CHECK OUT THE POSTAL VEHICLES! NO PLATES! If you or I or any business drives without them we get busted! Not the post office. This entity is a dinosaur! It should be extinct! A Capitalist carrier could and would do a better job and for less expense. Then you who are "disabled" would be enabled to be the talent and productive US citizens along with the rest. US business cannot operate in a myopic environment, only the post office can because nobody is responsible for them. If you don't believe me check with your Congressperson!

Mike Matter said...

I will admit that it's hard to deal with my disability and maintain a full time job or even a part time job. I'm still trying to deal with my own doctor appointments let alone daily life chores. The government seems to pay well and I feel more than capable of performing the tasks needed to perform that work but my commute would be the issue and the interview process would weed me out as I would be very fatigued by the time I would get there. I wish there was some way that the government or any job for that matter could show that they could understand my disability before they pass judgment on whether or not I could do a job. The ADA says that an interviewer could not legally do this but how could they not isn't it their job to pass judgment.