Montgomery County Government has earned the Public Sector Employer of the Year Award from Maryland Works, Inc., for demonstrating a significant commitment to hiring, retaining and advancing individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the Office of Human Resources (OHR) was selected to receive the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) 2013 CPS HR/IPMA-HR Innovation Grant for its Disability Employment Initiative.
The Maryland Works award was given to Montgomery County for its ongoing efforts to hire individuals with disabilities, including disabled veterans. In the November 2012 election, County voters overwhelmingly supported a special hiring authority initiative, which was developed cooperatively by the County and the Montgomery County Commission on People with Disabilities, to promote the hiring of qualified people with disabilities.
“I have sought to have Montgomery County be a model for local jurisdictions in the increased hiring of people with disabilities,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “We have been and will continue to assist other counties as well as private employers to increase hiring of qualified people with disabilities.”
Montgomery County has also been a leader in several hiring programs that benefit individuals with disabilities, providing valuable on-the-job training and employment opportunities. Project Search Montgomery, an intern program that provides opportunities for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, gave 12 individuals an opportunity to gain valuable job experience by working in County offices and departments over a 10-month period. The result was that more than half of these individuals were hired by the County for permanent jobs. The Customized Employment Public Intern Project, was created to address the difficulty people with significant disabilities often have being hired for County government positions. Through this program, individuals with significant disabilities are matched to work tasks based on their interests, skills and competencies. The Quest Intern Partnership, launched in 2009, is designed to provide opportunities for individuals to serve as volunteer interns in County departments, obtaining job skills by working on special projects.
“We are pleased that the County is being recognized for its leadership in hiring qualified people with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities,” said Patricia Gallalee, chair of the Commission on People with Disabilities. “This is an important step in our continuing efforts to address the high unemployment rates of individuals with disabilities. We hope that other jurisdictions and private industry will join us in this effort.”
The Maryland Works award will be presented at its Sixth Annual Employment Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 10 at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel.
The $20,000 CPS HR/IPMA-HR grant will enable OHR to produce a brochure and video that will help Montgomery County achieve its goal of encouraging and promoting employment opportunities for persons with disabilities through its new “Noncompetitive Appointment of Qualified Individuals with Disabilities.”
“Montgomery County’s disability hiring initiative is in full swing and this grant will help us to attain our goals,” said Office of Human Resources Director Joe Adler. “Making a concerted effort to hire persons with disabilities has been a priority for Montgomery County and I could not be more pleased that we were chosen for the highly competitive IPMA-HR grant. It is indeed an honor and I am extremely grateful that the IPMA-HR recognized our efforts.”
For more information, contact Joe Heiney-Gonzalez at 240-777-5070.
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