CDC Succeeds at Recruiting Disabled Employees

The Leadership for the Employment of Americans with Disabilities (LEAD) federal initiative launched by the Bush administration in 2006 is making some headway, at least at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC's director, Dr. Julie Gerberding, directed the Office of Dispute Resolution and Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Office of Workforce and Career Development, the Diversity office, and the Atlanta Human Resources Center to lead CDC in becoming a "model employer" for disabled workers, and this brought about a central fund that has paid for accommodations such as motorized scooters.

Gilbert Camacho, director of the EEO office, said the fund also bought evacuation chairs ergonomic equipment to address carpal tunnel syndrome and spine and back conditions. Meanwhile, his office and the Management Information Systems Office began to roll out the Automated Tracking System, which is used to electronically process, evaluate, and take final action on requests for reasonable accommodations. "These efforts are indicative of the agency's commitment to becoming an 'employer of choice,' " Camacho said in the article. "Although we face challenges, I am delighted that we are taking positive steps in the right direction."

The percentage of federal employees with targeted disabilities has declined since it reached its peak of 1.24 percent in FY1994 (32,337 employees). In fiscal year 2007, the percentage was 0.92 percent (23,993 employees) of the federal workforce.

"As an agency whose primary mission is that of public health, especially health disparities, we must be the leader within the federal government in hiring, retaining, and promoting persons with disabilities," said CDC Chief Operating Officer William Gimson. "We are serious about this. We will be the leaders in this area, and we will hold ourselves accountable."

October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2008.

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