ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy
Disability Employment Policy Resources by Topic
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez
Kathleen Martinez was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the third Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 25, 2009. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Ms. Martinez advises the Secretary of Labor and works with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities.
Blind since birth, Ms. Martinez comes to ODEP with a background as an internationally recognized disability rights leader specializing in employment, asset building, independent living, international development, diversity and gender issues.
She was appointed Executive Director of the World Institute on Disability (WID), based in Oakland, California, in 2005. Ms. Martinez directed Proyecto Visión, WID's National Technical Assistance Center to increase employment opportunities for Latinos with disabilities in the United States, and Access to Assets, an asset-building project to help reduce poverty among people with disabilities. At WID, she also led the team that produced the acclaimed international webzine DisabilityWorld in English and Spanish.
In 2007, she was appointed a member of the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, a Congressionally-created agency dedicated to research and projects in conflict management. In 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed her as one of eight public members of the newly-established State Department advisory committee on disability and foreign policy.
In 2002, she was appointed by President Bush as one of 15 members of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency advising the President and Congress on disability policy.