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Disability Employment Program

Disability Special Emphasis Program

Mark Norman, Disability Emphasis Program Manager
Phone:(337) 639-2385

Role of Disability Special Emphasis Program Manager

  • Assist the agency leadership to identify barriers or potential barriers to hiring, development, advancement and retention of minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities;
  • Propose solutions to remove such barriers;
  • Provide consulting and program support to help eliminate barriers;
  • Provide information to the agency leadership regarding shifts in occupations, policies, or external factors that may impact the future workforce of the agency;
  • Assist the agency leadership to identify and assess reasonable accommodations and compliance for all personnel;
  • Provide training and information regarding disability awareness to supervisors and employees regarding the rights and capabilities of employees with disabilities.

October is Disability Awareness Month

Every October Americans observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month by paying tribute to the accomplishments of the men and women with disabilities whose work helps keep the nation's economy strong and by reaffirming their commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens.

This effort to educate the public about the issues related to disability and employment began in 1945, when Congress enacted Public Law 176, declaring the first week of October each year as National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. Some 25 years later, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

On October 1, 2012, President Barack Obama proclaimed October 2012 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. In his message the President emphasized that "All Americans are entitled to an accessible workplace, a level playing field, and the same privileges, pursuits, and opportunities as any of their family, friends, and neighbors. This month, let us rededicate ourselves to bringing down barriers and raising up aspirations for all our people, regardless of disability, so we may share in a brighter future together."

NRCS 2012 Disability Awareness Poster Contest

The Natural Resources Conservation Service promotes awareness of the contributions and skills of workers with disabilities by a nationwide poster contest each year that is open to all full and part time employees. “A Strong Workforce Is an Inclusive Workforce” is the official theme for the October 2012 celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Cristina Clark-Cuadrado, NRCS Soil Conservationist in Gettysburg, PA, is the winner of the 2012 Poster Contest. Cristina's poster can be downloaded below. This document requires Adobe Acrobat.

 2012 Disability Poster Winner (PDF; 280 KB)

Winning Posters from Previous Years:

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.
2011 (PDF; 3.2 MB)
2010 (PDF; 6.6 MB)
2009 (PDF; 162 KB)
2008 (PDF; 906 KB)
2007 (PDF; 479 KB)
2006 (PDF; 231 KB)


Click on the image to download a copy of the poster (in PDF format)
2012 Disability Employment Awareness Poster (PDF; 280 KB)
Author: Cristina Clark-Cuadrado, Soil Conservationist, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania NRCS


USDA 508 Guidance: Documents Checklists

The following checklists should be used Department wide by USDA staff to verify that documents meet the requirements established by USDA. The checklists include compliance with Section 508, in addition to other USDA requirements.

These documents require Adobe Acrobat.

AgrAbility Project: Assistive Technology for Farmers with Disabilities

The AgrAbility Project was created to assist people with disabilities employed in agriculture. It provides information to farmers or farmworkers, their families and caregivers on assistive technology and farm site modifications that enable people with disabilities to remain involved in production agriculture.

"The A-B-Cs of Disabilities in the Workplace" Slideshow

This slideshow is based on information pulled from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and was created by Tracy Olsen from USDA-NRCS, ENTSC, in Royersford, PA. The slides present a number of helpful accommodation ideas for individuals that have a variety of impairments or medical conditions (not all these conditions are necessarily disabilities under ADA).

The following document requires Adobe Acrobat.

The A-B-Cs of Disabilities in the Workplace (PDF; 4.0 MB)



Additional Information:

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.

Preparing the Workplace for Everyone: Accounting for the Needs of People with Disabilities (PDF; 262 KB)

Disability Emphasis for Recruiting and Hiring Individuals with Disabilities (PDF; 1.1 MB)

List of Targeted Disabilities (PDF; 38 KB)

Disability Resources (PDF; 508 KB)

Disability Employment Checklist (PDF; 74 KB)

ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (PDF; 45 KB)

Dos and Don'ts of Disclosure (PDF; 143 KB)

Reasonable Accommodation:

NRCS Reasonable Accommodation Procedure (PDF; 30 KB)

Reasonable Accommodation Fact Sheet (PDF; 25 KB)