Disability: A Key Component of Diversity

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management hosted a virtual summit this week focusing on the importance of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA), and approaches to integrating disability employment across all areas of DEIA in the federal workforce. The summit was developed in collaboration with the White House Domestic Policy Council, U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S General Services Administration and U.S. Access Board. 

ODEP Assistant Secretary of Labor Taryn Williams, Chief of Staff Anupa Geevarghese and other staff provided presentations, skill-builder sessions and panel discussions on various topics, including equity and civil rights for people with disabilities, accessibility in strategic plans and mission priorities, and strategic recruitment, hiring and retention. 

The summit builds upon President Biden’s Executive Order 14035: DEIA in the Federal Workplace, which states that the federal government must be a model for DEIA and must strengthen its ability to recruit, hire, develop, promote and retain our nation’s talent and remove barriers to equal opportunity. A key aspect of the DEIA executive order is its emphasis on access for all, including people with disabilities. ODEP, with its agency partners, is working to educate and engage federal agencies to implement this transformative executive order. 

If you missed the event, don’t worry! Here are eight quotes highlighting ODEP’s contributions to the event. 

Today, many smart organizations are increasingly investing in diversity, equity and inclusion, and now is the time to broaden these efforts. Disability – like race, age, ethnicity, and sexual orientation – is a key component of diversity. Taryn Williams, Office of Disability Employment Policy

I challenge all of you to make accessibility your responsibility. The mantra we use at the Department of Labor is “Accessibility is everyone’s responsibility.” Taryn Williams, Office of Disability Employment Policy

It’s critical that we incorporate and uplift the perspectives of people with disabilities into efforts to achieve a more equitable and accessible workforce and nation. A diverse workforce inclusive of all voices is our strength. Taryn Williams, Office of Disability Employment Policy

As a Brown woman with a psychiatric disability, I believe that my perspective—along with those of others with mental health conditions—adds value. Anupa Geevarghese, Office of Disability Employment Policy

The Workforce Recruitment Program helps federal employers recruit and hire college students and recent graduates with disabilities and achieve their DEIA goals. Lauren Karas, Office of Disability Employment Policy

Bringing more people with disabilities into the federal workforce presents opportunities for new and innovative ideas and allows the federal workforce to be more representative of the people we serve.  Lou Orslene, Office of Disability Employment Policy

The federal government’s goal is to be a model employer of people with disabilities, and Schedule A helps advance this goal by removing barriers and increasing employment opportunities. Lou Orslene, Office of Disability Employment Policy

Strategies for inclusive federal workplaces include being transparent about our disability policies, providing accessible platforms for job applications and in the office, and creating an environment where people with disabilities feel a sense of belonging. Lou Orslene, Office of Disability Employment Policy

Learn more about the department’s efforts to expand disability employment and inclusion in the federal workforce