5 Shifts That Transformed Federal Service
Beyond its own workforce, federal government has significant influence over the contracting community, and has long used that influence to extend opportunities to segments of the population that face more challenges. The Small Business Administration offers various business development programs, instructing agencies to set aside portions of contract dollars to small disadvantaged businesses, including those owned by women, veterans and minorities. In 1973, the Rehabilitation Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability in programs run by federal agencies, programs that receive federal financial assistance, in federal employment, and in the employment practices of federal contractors. The AbilityOne was also created as the largest source of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities in the United States. More than 550 nonprofit organizations employ these individuals and provide products and services to the federal government via a prioritized contracting program. Furthermore, in 2013, the Labor Department set a hiring goal for federal contractors that 7 percent of each job group in their workforces should be made up of qualified people with disabilities.
As Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability noted: “Preventing discrimination and affirmative hiring are not one and the same.”