New federal hiring rules go into effect

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Federal employment opportunities set to increase

The Obama Administration’s much-hyped new hiring rules for federal contractors and subcontractors went into effect March 24, potentially leading to a significant expansion of federal disability hiring.

“While it never received the attention that came with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nearly a quarter century ago, the rule changes that go into effect today have the potential for far greater impact and scale than even the ADA in terms of employment,” said Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability, in a news release. “Federal contractors like Northrop Grumman and their ‘Network of Champions’ show the good work that can be done in hiring veterans with disabilities. “We encourage federal contractors – and all employers – to embrace the historic opportunity before us.”

Under the regulations, first proposed in 2011 and finalized in September 2013, contractors must take a variety of steps toward a hiring goal of making 7 percent of their workforce consist of people with disabilities. Although the rule does not establish a firm quota, contractors who do not take steps toward meeting that goal could lose their contracts.

“Federal contractors represent 22 percent of the American workforce and an aspirational 7 percent hiring goal means the rule will create real jobs, at all levels of seniority, for Americans with disabilities,” Mark Perriello, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, told Disability Scoop.