Intelligence Community to Become Model for Hiring People With Disabilities

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has issued an Intelligence Community (IC) Policy Guidance calling for greater focus on hiring, retaining, and promoting individuals with disabilities. This directive builds upon a previous IC Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Enterprise Strategy which established goals for increasing inclusion within the IC from 2015 to 2020.

The policy directive signed by Coats in February and released this week notes, “IC elements shall be model employers for individuals with disabilities. IC elements shall adhere to the applicable provisions of federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and regulations, provide equal opportunity in employment for all persons, and prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Equal opportunity in employment includes hiring, placement, and advancement opportunities.”

The directive calls for reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals and an affirmative action plan for hiring, placement, and advancement. The affirmative action plan should be applicable to the broadest number of job categories possible, and recruitment and outreach strategies should be put in place to increase the number of qualified applicants with disabilities.

Among other things, the directive requires agencies to create and/or maintain plans to retain individuals with disabilities. These plans should include:

(1) Efforts to analyze workforce separation data to identify barriers to retaining employees with disabilities;

(2) Efforts to ensure the effective provision of reasonable accommodations, as required by the Rehabilitation Act; and

(3) Efforts to ensure that facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities as required by the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.

This directive builds upon the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Enterprise Strategy which presented the vision of “a diverse, inclusive, and innovative Intelligence Community workforce that delivers global intelligence advantage.”

The strategy outlined five goal areas for increasing diversity: leadership and accountability; workforce development and succession planning; recruitment, hiring, and retention; career development and advancement; and equal employment opportunity and inclusion.

The directive by Director Coats hits on all of these goal areas and was set to take effect in February.

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