Hiring people with disabilities
At the USPTO, we know that that individuals with disabilities play a vital role in America’s diverse and inclusive workforce. Furthermore, when we educate ourselves about employment challenges, issues, and successes of professionals with disabilities, we enable people of all abilities to define themselves on their own terms. At the USPTO, the talents of all our employees enrich our vibrant workplace, and we celebrate and value each one.
Seven percent of our employees at the USPTO self-identify as a person with a disability, and 26% of adults in the United States have a disability. While the nature of those disabilities are diverse—including physical, mental, intellectual, and sensory—people with disabilities often share intersecting challenges and experiences in the workplace. Despite the challenges people with disabilities have encountered, they greatly contribute and continue to play a vital role in the success of our agency and of our nation.
ResponsAbility: USPTO Disability Advocates is one of many employee organizations at the USPTO. ResponsAbility is dedicated to matters related to individuals with disabilities. Each year, ResponsAbility hosts informative sessions on topics ranging from transportation for the disabled, special needs adoption, mental health issues, reasonable accommodation requests and more.
October 2022 was National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)
We celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this past October. NDEAM is a time to pay tribute to the accomplishments of the men and women with disabilities whose work helps strengthen the nation. Moreover, NDEAM is an opportunity to heighten awareness of biases toward those with disabilities and educate all individuals about disability employment challenges, issues and successes.
The 2022 theme, “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation,” reminds us that a strong workforce is the sum of many parts, and disability has always been a key part of the equation. Society’s efforts to achieve inclusion must be grounded in recognizing the worth, dignity, and successes of people with disabilities.
The previous theme for 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflected a commitment to ensure those among us with disabilities can fully access economic opportunities and accommodations to help advance the national recovery from COVID-19.
We celebrated by sharing the perspectives of our employees with disabilities, promoting awareness of Schedule A hiring and other special hiring pathways, and attending the AbilityJobs October career fair. We also hosted events for employees that focus on disability employment issues and the role that awareness plays in fostering a disability-friendly work culture.
Celebrating inclusive innovation
You can join us in celebrating NDEAM all year long by reading about the accomplishments of celebrated inventors like Chieko Asakawa, Bill Warner, and Rory Cooper, who pioneered adaptive solutions for accessibility hurdles they encountered in their everyday lives, with life-changing benefits for millions around the world.
You can also read about employees with disabilities on our Who We Are page, such as Administrative Patent Judge Annette R. who reminds us that there's no such word as "can't."