Governor John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday the formation of the State as a Model Employer Task Force, which will develop policies and strategies to improve within state government the rate of hiring, recruitment and retention of Louisianans with disabilities.

“All of Louisiana’s citizens, including those who live with a disability, deserve the opportunity to provide for their families and engage in meaningful employment,” Gov. Edwards said. “My goal is to ensure that employment within state government represents the diverse reality of Louisiana’s citizens and acts as a model for private industry. In other words, we should practice what we preach.”

Only 33 percent of people with disabilities are in the workforce compared to 72 percent of individuals without disabilities. The task force’s goal is to develop policies that lead to at least seven percent of the state government’s work force is comprised of those living with disabilities.

“The state government should be a model for other businesses by increasing the hiring of people with disabilities,” said Bambi Polotzola, Director of the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs. “The state has a vested interest in eliminating barriers to these individuals. It is important that Louisiana recognizes the rights and abilities of those with disabilities to protect our citizens from discrimination.”

The State as a Model Employer Task Force will have the following duties:

  • Develop policies, strategies and services designed to achieve the seven percent employment target.
  • Establish a five-year plan with annual goals that will enable the state workforce to reach parity with the percentage of working age people with disabilities in Louisiana.
  • Provide guidance and other support to agencies and institutions of higher education of higher education on recruitment, retention, accommodation and accessibility for persons with disabilities.

The task force will make specific recommendations that would increase employment of people with disabilities within state government and submit a report to the governor regarding its findings no later than October 31, 2018.

Click here to read the governor’s executive order.