This testimony discusses possible strategies for improving the rate of federal employment of individuals with disabilities. This testimony is based on our October 2010 report that discussed barriers to the employment of people with disabilities in the federal workforce and leading practices that could be used to overcome these barriers. To identify these barriers and leading practices, we solicited the views of a wide range of knowledgeable individuals through a survey and forum held at GAO on July 20, 2010. Participants in the forum concluded (1) Top leadership commitment is key to implementing and sustaining improvements in the employment of individuals with disabilities. (2) Accountability is critical to success. (3) Regularly surveying the workforce on disability issues provides agencies with important information on potential barriers. (4) Better coordination within and across agencies could improve employment outcomes for employees with disabilities. (5) Training for staff at all levels can disseminate leading practices throughout the agency. (6) Career development opportunities inclusive of people with disabilities can facilitate advancement and increase retention. (7) A flexible work environment can increase and enhance employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. (8) Centralizing funding within an agency can help ensure that reasonable accommodations are provided.
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