President Obama Reaffirms Commitment to Promoting Opportunity for Job Seekers with Disabilities

Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2012)– The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation’s largest cross-disability membership organization, today praised the President Obama for reaffirming his support for a proposed rule that would require federal contractors to increase the percentage of people with disabilities in their work forces.

In response to a questionnaire submitted by national disability rights organizations, the President again expressed support for a proposed rule that the Administration released in December of 2011.

The Proposed rule would implement Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires federal contractors to promote employment opportunity for people with disabilities. Although Section 503 was enacted almost 40 years ago, it has never been enforced or clarified to the extent necessary, requiring employers only to make a “good faith” effort to hire people with disabilities.

The  President stated that the rule “would strengthen Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, reduce unemployment among Americans with disabilities, and help federal contractors fulfill their legal obligations to hire qualified workers with disabilities.  This rule, when finalized, will have a positive impact on the employment of persons with disabilities.”

Many leading businesses, including American Airlines, Amerigroup, Bayer, and Highmark, have expressed their support for the proposed rule.

“Under this President’s leadership, our nation is about to fulfill a promise made almost forty years ago—leveling the playing field for qualified people with disabilities,” said AAPD President and CEO Mark Perriello.  “Because federal contractors employ 22% of the American work force, the President’s initiative will be the most significant advance for equal employment opportunities since the Americans with Disabilities Act,” he added.

You can view the questionnaire and the President’s responses here.

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The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.

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