What about a Plan to Increase Jobs for Disabled Workers?

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A look at a proposed plan to boost the hiring of disabled workers.

With the economy still in trouble and the job market making a slow comeback, the Obama administration is looking at ways to help increase the number of disabled people find new jobs. Last week, the Labor Department proposed a new rule that would require federal contractors to meet a goal of having at least 7 percent of their workforce made up of people with disabilities.

The plan is being lauded as one of the most significant efforts to protect the rights of the disabled. It's easy to understand why. Among disabled workers, the unemployment rate is nearly 13 percent. Combine that with the fact that federal contractors make up a quarter of the workforce, the math becomes clear.

In the past, the government has used their hiring power to promote affirmative action and has increased the number of women and minorities hired. This plan will hopefully do the same for the large number of disabled workers.

Although the plan has many supporters, there are still a number of smaller companies who worry that the rule would place an unfair burden on them. They say that they aren't able to meet the special needs of having disabled employees, although, the Persons with Disabilities Act was designed to make the workplace accessible to all.

Still, it looks as though this rule will be approved and companies who hold federal contracts will be required to set hiring goals and keep detailed records to prove compliance. If a company isn't able to meet the goals and has passed over hiring otherwise qualified applicants who are disabled, they may be forced to pay fines and could ultimately lose their ability to bid on government contracts in the future.

I think that this is a great step toward encouraging companies to consider applicants who have disabilities. Even though discrimination is illegal, until now, there hasn't been any incentive for companies to change their ways.

What do you think about this new rule? Do you think it will help? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for LogisticsJobsiteBlog and Nexxt, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.


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