Inclusion Drives Innovation

3 minutes read time
A U.S. Department of Labor official reads her speech while addresing the Work Force Recruitment Program’s (WRP) "Your Key To Hiring Student Interns and Employees with Disabilities” event hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A U.S. Department of Labor official reads her speech while addresing a Work Force Recruitment Program’s (WRP) "Your Key To Hiring Student Interns and Employees with Disabilities” event hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Inclusion Drives Innovation

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month -- a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. One way the U.S. Department of State is supporting American workers with disabilities is through WRP. You're probably wondering, "what is WRP?" I had the same reaction the first time someone asked me that question and had to admit I wasn’t sure what the acronym stood for. Even when I found out it stands for the Workforce Recruitment Program, I realized I still had more to learn.

WRP is a federal recruitment and referral program administered by the Departments of Defense and Labor. The program connects federal employers with students and recent graduates with disabilities who are interested in summer or permanent employment. Those interested go through a round of interviews with current members of the federal workforce, who evaluate their readiness for employment and then place them on a register of intern prospects from which agencies select their newest employees.

Now on my second year serving as a volunteer recruiter for the WRP, I have had the chance to interview a range of students with a variety of skills. In my conversations with these candidates I found they were particularly interested in what the federal workforce can offer, whether in the Washington, DC area, or closer to their homes in various locations across the United States. These candidates bring an incredible variety of competitive skills to the table, some having studied operations management, computer-assisted design, and non-profit administration, among many other useful majors. Their enthusiasm for working in the federal government will bring great energy to any prospective employer.

We have a WRP intern in my office in the Department’s Recruitment Outreach Office right now, and he is a fabulous addition to our team. While still engaged in undergraduate studies, he is learning about the office, and the federal government environment. The Bureau of Human Resources has benefited from his creativity and openness to trying new initiatives as we work to initiate, manage, and implement recruitment strategies for the entire Department. For example, this WRP intern is currently working on peer-to-peer communications, engaging with thousands of former interns and keeping them updated on all of the Department’s internship, fellowship, and career opportunities. His communications will help us maintain a relationship with this group and allow us to identify the next generation of the workforce.

This National Disability Employment Awareness month, we at the Department of State remain steadfast in our commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce. To learn more about the U.S. Department of State’s internships, fellowships, and careers, check out careers.state.gov. To find out more about the WRP, visit wrp.gov.

October is National Disability Empolyment Awareness Month

Reflecting the important role that different perspectives play in workforce success, this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month  theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”

About the Author: Josh Glazeroff is a senior Foreign Service Officer currently serving in the Bureau of Human Resources as the Chief of Recruitment Outreach for the Department of State.

Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.com.