RD461 - Progress Report on Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities – October 27, 2020

Executive Summary:

In 2017, the Code of Virginia was amended to establish a goal to increase by five percent, the level of employment of individuals with disabilities over the next five years.

One of the requirements for all Executive Branch agencies is the annual submission of a formal Employment Plan that outlines the organization's individual strategies for helping the Commonwealth achieve its goal.

The Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) designed an Agency Employment Opportunity Plan template to collect required information and enable agencies the flexibility to present successful practices that can drive the future direction of the overall strategy.

Eighty-three percent of Executive Branch agencies are in compliance with the mandate. These agencies submitted a Statement of Commitment signed by their Agency Head or College or University President, and an updated Employment Opportunity Plan outlining their recruitment and retention efforts. DHRM has followed up with the remaining agencies to ensure completion of pending plans.

Although agencies have made progress in their recruitment and retention efforts, Individuals with Disabilities continue to represent approximately 1% of Executive Branch employees. Some agencies noted that the COVID19-driven freeze on hiring and discretionary spending and employee furloughs impacted their fulfillment of their Plan strategies. Anecdotal evidence suggests, however, that for many agencies the resources needed to fully support this effort were extremely limited during the entire fiscal year and were only exacerbated by COVID-19. A continued challenge is that employees are reluctant to voluntarily disclose their disabilities which skews the data available to DHRM.