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Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY CENTERS ON DISABILITIES
SPECIAL AWARDS CEREMONY

ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY DIRECTOR PATRICIA A. SHIU
U.S. Department Of Labor – Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 – 4:45-7:00 PM (EST)
Renaissance Hotel, Grand Ballroom – 999 Ninth Street, NW – Washington, DC

 

OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu accepts special recognition award

OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu
accepts special recognition award
from the Association of University
Centers on Disabilities on November
19, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Denny
Henry and AUCD.)

Thank you to AUCD Executive Director Andy Imparato for this award. And thanks to the entire leadership and staff of AUCD for this recognition.

I am honored to accept this award – and I do so on behalf of the dozens and dozens of men and women at the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Management and Budget, the White House – and across the Obama administration – who worked tirelessly for almost four years to develop two game-changing and historic new rules on Section 503 and VEVRAA.

Some of those people – including members of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance staff – are here today, and I would ask them to stand and be recognized.

I also want to thank the many disability rights advocates, scholars, researchers, business leaders, HR professionals and other stakeholders who shared their feedback, their comments and their expertise with us during the rulemaking process. Again, many of those folks are also here and I deeply appreciate all of your guidance and support. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes an entire metropolis – and quite a few lawyers – to write a rule.

I am incredibly proud of the rules we produced. I'm proud of the inclusive rulemaking process we managed. And Iím proud that the end result is thoughtful, clear, well-reasoned, enforceable and workable. I believe that, over time, the implementation of these rules will prove their effectiveness in tackling one of the most intractable and yet totally solvable challenges we face in civil rights: how to get qualified workers with disabilities and protected groups of veterans into good jobs — meaningful jobs — jobs that empower and afford all workers the opportunity to sustain themselves and their families.

By our estimates, if every company with a federal contract or subcontract achieves the metrics set forth in these two rules, nearly 600,000 people with disabilities and more than 200,000 veterans will be added to the American workforce in the first year alone.

AUCD Executive Director Andy Imparato and OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu

AUCD Executive Director Andy Imparato
nominated OFCCP Director Patricia A.
Shiu for this award in recognition of her
lifetime of advocacy on behalf of people
with disabilities. (Photo courtesy of
Denny Henry and AUCD.)

What an accomplishment that would be!

Five years ago, as a presidential candidate, then–Senator Barack Obama committed to updating Section 503 and to strengthening the affirmative action requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Thanks to his leadership — and the leadership of former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and our new Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, we have kept that commitment.

It has been one of the great privileges of my life to have been in a position to help reach this milestone. In fact, yesterday morning, I had the chance to meet with President Obama in the Oval Office to discuss the work of OFCCP. And the first thing I did was to thank him for his leadership in making these new rules a reality.

In closing, I just want to emphasize a point that Secretary Perez has repeatedly made since taking the helm of the Labor Department: we do not accept false choices between job creation and worker protection.

Profit and parity go hand-in-hand.

When workers are safe, when they are healthy, when they are treated fairly, when they have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs and when they are afforded the reasonable accommodations to which they are entitled — businesses do better... the economy grows stronger... and the middle class expands.

And above all, we redeem the age old promises of our nation: equality for all, responsibility from all and inclusion of all.