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October 11, 2008    DOL Home > Newsroom > News Releases   

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ODEP News Release: [05/24/2004]
Contact Name: Michael Volpe
Phone Number: (202) 693-7909

Labor Secretary Chao and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Issue Memo Urging Federal Hiring of College Students with Disabilities

Washington—U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today urged federal government agency heads to continue to enthusiastically support a Bush Administration program that has successfully placed hundreds of college students with disabilities in summer and permanent employment.

“The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) gives students with disabilities the opportunities they need to start successful careers,” said Secretary Chao. “The program also fulfills President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative pledge to promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities throughout the nation.”

In a joint memorandum, both Secretaries said “President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative calls for expanding employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities. The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) for College Students with Disabilities can help the federal government lead by example in achieving that goal. “Please encourage your selecting officials to consider the candidates referred through this program for career development opportunities and permanent employment.”

Last summer, more than 300 students and recent graduates with disabilities found summer or permanent jobs through WRP. The Labor Department estimates that because of the popularity of the program, that number will likely be exceeded by mid-summer 2004.

Through the WRP, the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), in cooperation with the Department of Defense, offers a database of almost 1,600 job seekers with disabilities on a complimentary CD-ROM. Private and public sector employers can search for potential applicants by field of study, state or school, in disciplines ranging from computer sciences and business to communications engineering and office administration. Searches generate candidate profiles, academic and demographic data and contact information from applications recruited by the program from more than 180 colleges and universities in over 40 states and territories. The CD-ROM and additional information are available from, or by contacting ODEP at (202) 693-7880, or at

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