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Hiring Initiatives for Americans with Disabilities

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The Department of Commerce's Disability Program Office is committed to increasing the employment of disabled individuals throughout the Department. In addition, the Department continues to forge partnerships with other Federal Government agencies, colleges, universities, vocational rehabilitation agencies, and disability advocacy groups.

We are committed to attract, hire, and retain individuals with disabilities.

Our mission is to promote meaningful employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and encourage their integration into the DOC workforce nationwide through effective training, career development, and promotional opportunities.

About Us
On July 26, 2011, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13548, Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities.


People with disabilities may be considered for employment through the competitive hiring process or in some circumstances, under the Schedule A hiring authority for persons with disabilities. Individuals that may fall under this special hiring authority include persons with mental retardation, severe physical disabilities or psychiatric disabilities. In these cases, an agency may make a permanent, temporary, or time limited appointment. Disabled veterans may also be considered under special hiring programs for disabled veterans with disability ratings from the Department of Veterans Affairs of 30 percent or more.


You Tube videos, below to assist you in the process of searching for Federal jobs:

Boolean Search/USA Jobs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1DBFYFIjoo

Navigating USA Jobs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvIkxUuPJC8

Internships/Pathways Program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQzXYVqBmZg&feature=youtu.be

Disability Hiring at Commerce

Department of Commerce Disability
Hiring and Retaining People with Disabilities Operational Plan FY 11


To qualify for employment under Schedule A, a person must have the following:

Proof of Disability: An individual wishing to be hired under the Schedule A (5 C.F.R.213.3102(u) hiring authority must provide proof he or she is an individual with mental retardation, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability. This proof must be provided to the hiring agency before an individual can be hired.

Certification of Job Readiness: An individual hired under this authority must be ready to perform the job for which they are being considered. This certification is a statement that the individual is likely to succeed in the performance of the duties of the position for which he or she is applying. As proof of disability and certification of job readiness appropriate documentation can be: records, statements, or other appropriate information issued from a licensed medical professional, a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist, or any Federal agency, State agency, or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits.

Temporary appointments may be considered for individuals who have proof of disability, but lack certification of job readiness. Individuals may work under the temporary appointment until the agency determines that the individuals are able to perform the duties of the position or the individuals gain certification. Time limited appointments may be considered when the duties of the position do not require it to be filled on a permanent basis.

The U.S. Department of Commerce provides reasonable accommodations so that people with disabilities have the opportunity to perform the duties of their positions.

What is Reasonable Accommodation?

Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. For example, reasonable accommodation may include:

    • providing or modifying equipment or devices,

    • job restructuring,

    • part-time or modified work schedules,

    • reassignment to a vacant position,

    • adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies,

    • providing readers and interpreters, and

    • making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship -- that is, that it would require significant difficulty or expense.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for the Department’s EEO program, including affirmative action, for employees and job applicants within the Department. The Director of the Office is the advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Administration on the Department’s responsibilities under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Act of 1972, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Applicants and employees requesting reasonable accommodation in the Office of the Secretary, OHRM, BIS, ITA, EDA, MBDA, and NTIA). Contact, Brian Cedar at bcedar@doc.gov, 202-482-1032. For reasonable accommodation requests at other Bureaus, please refer to the OCR list of reasonable accommodation coordinators.

Disability Hiring Resources

    Appointment Authorities

    The Federal Government has a special Schedule A (5 C.F.R. 213.3102(u)) appointing authority for persons with Mental Retardation, Severe Physical Disabilities, or Psychiatric Disabilities.

    Disabled veterans may also be considered under a special hiring authority for 30 percent or more disabled veterans.

    Assistive Technology Resources


    CAP – Within the federal government there is a wonderful program housed within the Department of Defense. The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides assistive technology and services to people with disabilities throughout the federal government FREE OF CHARGE! That means you can tap this resource for help in accommodating an employee with a disability. CAP will do the needs assessment, buy the needed technology, train the employee on how to use it, and follow up with updates. All you have to do is ask! (Note: Before contacting CAP directly, check with the Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator, as they may already have a relationship with CAP.) Further information can be found at http://www.tricare.mil/cap/.

    JAN – The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) represents the most comprehensive resource for job accommodations available, and is a terrific and easy-to-use resource. This free consulting service is designed to increase the employability of people with disabilities. JAN provides individualized worksite accommodation solutions, as well as information on job accommodations and related subjects for employers and people with disabilities. Additional information can be found at http://www.jan.wvu.edu/

    Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, Department of Defense
    Main Office
    511 Leesburg Pike, Suite 810
    Falls Church, VA 22041
    Direct: (703)681-8813
    Fax: (703)681-9075


    Assistive Technology Resources

Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP)

Center for Information Technology (CITA)

Assistive Technology for Persons with Disabilities

Website Accessibility

Federal Relay Service (FedRelay)


    Access Board

    The Access Board offers technical assistance on the ADA Accessibility Guidelines.

    (800)872-2253 (V), (800)993-2822 (TTY)

    ADA Hotline: (800)514-0301 (V), (800)514-0383 (TTY)

    U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (DOL)

    DOL enforces the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    (866)4-uswage ((866)487-9243) (V), (877)889-5627 (TTY)

    Disability.gov is an award-winning federal government website that provides an interactive, community-driven information network of disability-related programs, services, laws and benefits.


    EARN – The Employer Assistance & Recruiting Network (EARN) is a free service that connects employers looking for quality employees with skilled job candidates. EARN provides recruiting services, as well as employer success stories. Moreover, if you need to make the business case for hiring people with disabilities, EARN can provide you with the information you need! Further information can be found at http://askearn.org/

    WRP – The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal sector employers nationwide with highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. Students represent all majors, and range from college freshmen to graduate students and law students. A searchable database is available through the WRP website. WRP is ready to help you fill your summer or permanent hiring needs! Further information can be found at http://wrp.gov.

    For Veterans with Disabilities – There are numerous organizations and agencies that exist to assist veterans with disabilities find and maintain employment.

    The following is a sample of useful resources to keep handy:

    o The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Veterans Employment & Training Service http://www.dol.gov/vets/welcome.html

    o Hire Heroes http://www.hireheroesusa.org/

    o Wounded Warriors Project http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org

    Advocacy Groups – There are several different advocacy groups that also serve as excellent resources for recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities. The following is a sampling of those resources:

    o American Association of People with Disabilities http://www.aapd.com/

    o National Council on Independent Living http://www.ncil.org/

    o Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation http://www.rehabnetwork.org/

    o Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Government http://dhhig.org/

    o American Council of the Blind http://www.acb.org/

    Federal Resources – There are numerous federal programs designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities in finding employment. The following is a non-exhaustive list of programs/resources:

    o The Office of Personnel Management’s “Disability Site” http://www.opm.gov/disability/

    o DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy http://www.dol.gov/odep/

    o Also check out the federal government’s one-stop web site for people with disabilities, their families, employers, veterans and service members, workforce professionals and many others. www.DisabilityInfo.gov


Learn more about Schedule A to quickly hire applicants with disabilities. These short training videos on a range of subjects will assist hiring managers, like you; achieve your mission and important recruitment, hiring and diversity goals.

For the Hiring Manager:

Why Use Excepted Service Employment? Provides Alternatives When Traditional Competitive Hiring Procedures Are Impractical. Excepted service hiring authorities can help agencies resolve problems that arise from unusual hiring situations that do not lend themselves to traditional competitive procedures.

Provides Alternatives To Address Special Needs. Certain authorities provide for appointment to the excepted service, rather than to the competitive civil service, to allow agencies to meet their critical needs, and those of groups of prospective employees and individuals with special needs.


In recognition of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the signing of Executive Order 13548, CAP has created the first in a series of online training modules. This module will help you understand how simple and beneficial hiring employees with disabilities can be.

JAN Announces a New Series of Just-in-Time Training Modules

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) announces the first in a series of fully-accessible training modules. The first just-in-time modulefeatures “JAN’s Interactive Process.” With the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008,employers have moved past the definition of disability and on toprovidingaccommodations. The key to successful accommodations is having an effectiveinteractive accommodation process. This 23 minute training module and accompanying transcript and handout provides a sample step-by-step process that employers can use in their own workplaces to help them successfully accommodate applicants or employees.

This module can be used to train new accommodation specialists, disability managers, and others responsible for initiating and maneuvering through the accommodation landscape. Trainees can view the module at their computer or use the module as part of a larger training.

The Module and supporting documents can be found in JAN’s Multimedia Training Library at: http://AskJAN.org/training/library.htm

Watch for the next just-in-time "ADA Amendments Act" Module coming soon!

Upcoming Events:

Celebrating Disability Awareness – October 4, HCHB, 10-12:00 PM.