Agencies urged to hire disabled students for summer jobs

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld issued a joint memo Monday asking agencies to step up use of a program designed to provide summer internships for college students and recent graduates with disabilities.

Through the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities, the Labor Department gives public- and private-sector organizations access to a database of almost 1,600 potential interns. The database provides employers with background information about the students, who are pre-screened through face-to-face interviews. Employers can search the database by state, school or area of study.

"It's an advantage to get a diverse workforce in place," said W. Roy Grizzard Jr., assistant secretary of Labor for disability employment policy. The recruitment program, he added, "brings an individual with a disability into an office where an individual without a disability can see that they can carry the workload and make a positive contribution."

Last summer, agencies and companies hired 329 people with disabilities through the program. Grizzard said that 313 students have already been hired for summer 2004, and that this year's overall numbers will likely surpass last year's. The Defense Department, which cosponsors the program, funds a minimum of 200 summer jobs.

"This program is important because it gives these individuals a paycheck, allows them to learn the soft skills of employment -- getting to work on time, dressing appropriately, getting along with a team, and working with managers and supervisors -- and provides them with an opportunity to network and build a résumé," Grizzard said. He also noted it lets employers observe employees on the job for three months with no obligation to hire them full-time. Many of the interns, however, do end up applying for permanent positions within the agency they intern for.

Agriculture Department officials say the program helps them meet a mandate under executive order 13163 to hire more workers with disabilities by the end of fiscal 2005. "We're a little bit behind, so we're using the program as a tool to meet our goal, since we're trying to be a more diverse organization," said Samantha Schmucker, who coordinates Agriculture's efforts to recruit workers with disabilities. Agriculture is sending recruiters to campuses and helping establish the database of students, Schmucker said. Agency recruiters are each compiling "hot lists" of students with disabilities who they believe would be "top-notch and exceptional additions to USDA." Grizzard says Labor is working to provide more companies with access to the database of students on CD-ROM. While Defense, Agriculture and Labor itself have made extensive use of the program, "We want to have a healthy and robust participation in the private sector as well," he said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.