Federal Employees News Digest

Recruitment of disabled grows, but retention lags

A new Government Accountability Office review of recruiting and retention efforts to increase the number of employees with disabilities at federal agencies shows some bright spots, such as improved recruiting, but it also finds ample room for improvement, most pointedly in retention.

In 2010, the Obama administration set out to recruit 100,000 new employees with at least one disability. “Agencies hired about 143,600 persons with disabilities from 2011-2015 -- exceeding the federal target of 100,000,” GAO said. “Agencies made an additional 79,600 hires in 2016 and 2017.”

Many of the new employees with at least one disability were hired part-time -- their numbers climbing about 63%, from 11,306 in 2011 to 17,896 by 2017.The effort appears to have had significant impact on the full-time workforce, too. Looking at the increase of those with at least one disability, the absolute number went up from 15,970 in 2011 to 24,125 in 2017, a 66% rise.

Unfortunately about 61% of those recruits stayed less than two years. That seems abysmal, but not too far out of line compared with the marginally worse federal average of only 57% sticking around even that short time.

GAO made half a dozen recommendations to improve retention, urging Office of Personnel Management to “track and report retention data,” the report said. It also recommended multiple agencies study their training regimens for new employees and their impact on retention. The report breaks out specific data on a handful of departments and their performance.

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