CBP Becomes First Federal Agency to Join Disability Hiring Initiative
Customs and Border Protection today became the first federal agency to enter an alliance agreement with the Department of Labor to advance President Obama's executive order to increase federal hiring of people with disabilities.
Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez signed an agreement to partner on the Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy's Alliance Initiative.
The initiative will accelerate CBP's ability to reach its goals on disability hiring, said Aguilar during the signing ceremony. The "lifeblood" of the agency is "our people, the assets that our people bring," he said. "The more diverse we are, the better off we'll be."
Aguilar reported that 9 percent of employees hired by CBP last year were veterans with disabilities and that 2.09 percent of the agency workforce overall is people with disabilities. The acting commissioner said that the CBP goal is to have a workforce with 3.2 percent of employees with disabilities within five years.
The Alliance Initiative enables organizations committed to improving disability workplace practices to work with Labor to develop and implement policies and initiatives that increase recruiting, hiring, advancing and retaining employees with disabilities. The disability employment policy office and CBP will work together to promote effective strategies and practices for disability employment.
Labor's Martinez explained that her office has "very practical information about how to accommodate people, about what to do in certain types of situations."
"We're on a new path to bring qualified people [to CBP], people who should be expected to complete their jobs if they're given the proper accommodations," said Martinez. "And we know you have practical questions and we're here to help you find answers."
"You guys are really raising the bar," Martinez added, "and we plan on going shoulder to shoulder, side by side with you."
President Obama signed Executive Order 13548 in July 2010, which set a goal for federal agencies to hire 100,000 people with disabilities over the next five years. Today's alliance agreement furthers CBP's full compliance with the executive order and supports CBP's formal plan to increase employment of individuals with disabilities.
The alliance is one the agency's top priorities for making CBP a model employer of persons with disabilities.
A team of representatives from CBP and Labor will meet to develop a plan of action, determine working procedures, and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants. They will meet at least four times per year to track and share progress toward achieving the alliance goals.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.