The Joint Disability Employment Network (JDEN)
JDEN provides people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) with employment opportunities in the FSIS laboratories. Participants are brought into the JDEN program by way of the Excepted Service using Schedule A authority. JDEN positions are part-time and start at the GS-1 level. Upon successful completion of the program, the program goal is conversion to permanent full time with opportunities for advancement to a full-performance level up to GS-5. This goal ensures that people with targeted disabilities (specifically IDD) have equal access and opportunity for hiring, training, development and promotion in accordance with the Agency’s strategic priorities.
See the Person Not the Disability
A disability is any condition that makes it more difficult to do certain activities or effectively interact. These conditions, or impairments, may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or a combination of multiple factors. Impairments causing disability may be present from birth or can be acquired during a lifetime. JDEN focuses on employment opportunities for PWD with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Mission: To promote diversity and inclusion by ensuring equality in hiring, training, developmental and promotional opportunities for professionals with targeted disabilities, specifically intellectual and developmental disabilities via JDEN.
- Remove Barriers to Equality: The Office of Personnel Management mandates that all applicants for positions GS-2 and higher must have a high school diploma. This creates a barrier to equality because many capable individuals with IDD complete high school and are not granted a diploma; therefore, they will not qualify for most federal positions. JDEN provides a glide path for a career in the federal civil service.
- Empower People with Disabilities: JDEN builds support and instills pride in participants with IDD by providing employment that comes with professional responsibilities, meaningful tasks as well as opportunities for promotion and advancement.
- Promote Diversity and Inclusion: JDEN fosters a culture of empathy, respect, and appreciation for participants unique contributions making JDEN an effective model to be used Agency-wide to boost diversity and promote inclusivity.
Special Placement Program Coordinator: Selective placement program coordinators (SPPC) help agencies recruit, hire and accommodate people with disabilities. Additionally, the SPPC provides oversight and support to PWD by supporting the mission, goals and objectives of the JDEN program. For inquires, contact Shonda Moore at email@example.com.
- The Schedule A authority, 5 CFR 213.3102(u), is an excepted authority used to appoint individuals who have a severe physical, psychological, or intellectual disability. The Schedule A authority allows for hiring PWD outside of the traditional hiring process. Schedule A streamlines the hiring process by allowing hiring officials to select job candidates exclusively from a list of qualified Schedule A applicants.
- You can apply using Schedule A if you are a person with an intellectual disability, a severe physical disability, or a psychiatric disability. To be selected, you must meet the qualifications of the job. To be eligible, the candidate must show proof of disability in the form of a Schedule A Letter.
- The Schedule A Letter serves as certification that you are an individual with a severe physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disability that qualifies you for hiring consideration under 5 CFR 213.3102 (u), Schedule A hiring authority.
- The Schedule A letter may be from any licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional certified by a State, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. Territory to practice medicine), a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., State or private), or any Federal or State agency, or agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits.
- The ‘‘excepted service’’ consists of civil service positions which are not in the competitive service. Generally, to obtain employment in the Federal government civilian, you must compete with other applicants in open competition. OPM provides excepted service hiring authorities to fill jobs under Schedules A and other authorities. These excepted service authorities enable agencies to hire outside of the traditional competitive hiring process.
- Most Excepted service positions are not required to be posted on www.USAJOBS.gov . Therefore, it is important to view agency Web sites for job announcements.
- Agencies may noncompetitively convert to the competitive service an employee who has completed 2 years of satisfactory performance in the Excepted service.
- Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of professionals with disabilities. AT can be low-tech: communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt. AT can be high-tech: special-purpose computers.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the Technology & Accessible Resources Give Employment Today (TARGET) Center in 1992 to utilize the power of technology and provide impactful services related to improving accessibility and contributing to the complete employment experience of individuals with disabilities.
- Guidelines for mentoring people with disabilities
- Visit the TARGET Center TARGET Center | United States Department of Agriculture (usda.gov)
- Watch video about the importance of assistive technology https://youtu.be/62TGJg8j78Q
- Reasonable accommodations are adjustments or modifications provided by an employer to enable people with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Federal agencies may provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities where appropriate unless doing so will result in undue hardship to the agency.
- Accommodations vary depending upon the needs of the individual applicant or employee. Not all people with disabilities (or even all people with the same disability) will require the same accommodation.
- Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation are made on a case-by-case basis.
- Please contact Kevin Bjork at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions regarding reasonable accommodations.