(Photo Credit: Graphic by Patrecia Geistfeld, Fort Riley Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

WIESBADEN, Germany - U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden and U.S. Army Europe work to educate supervisors and workers to ensure equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Our focus this year, on the 75th anniversary of recognizing October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, is identifying tangible actions we can take to not only employ individuals with disabilities, but ensure they receive the accommodations they need to enjoy equal employment opportunity in the workplace,” said Eric Zelko, Equal Employment Opportunity specialist, U.S. Army Europe.

This year marks not only the 75th observance of NDEAM, but also the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Americans with disabilities have long served our nation in all walks of life,” according to information from the Equal Employment Opportunity Office. “Rather than being defined by disability they worked to clear barriers, implemented new ideas, and proved the value of a diverse workforce. The Department of Defense joins the nation in paying tribute to the immeasurable accomplishments of those with disabilities whose work helps keep the nation's economy strong and by reaffirming our commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens.”

The Department of Defense has established goals for employing individuals with disabilities, according to the DoD Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Specifically, individuals with disabilities are to account for 12% of the civilian workforce and individuals with targeted disabilities (blindness, traumatic brain injury, significant mobility impairment, deafness, PTSD and missing extremities) are to account for 2%. Nearly 20% of Army civilians have disabilities, and 2.38% have targeted disabilities. Locally, 12.22% of the civilian workforce identifies as having a disability.

The U.S. Army Europe and USAG Wiesbaden Disability Working Group has identified the following focus areas: 1) Educate managers about Schedule A hiring authorities; 2) Ensure employees know about the Reasonable Accommodation Process, and 3) Work to improve accessibility across the installation.

Schedule A is a special hiring authority for individuals with disabilities. A person with a severe physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability must be qualified for the job for which they are applying and provide documented proof of disability in order to be eligible, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Learn more at www.opm.gov.

To request special equipment for a reasonable accommodation, interested individuals should go to www.cap.mil and fill out the form. They can then indicate what they need or request to be contacted to discuss possible solutions.