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Disability Recruitment Program sets record.

In 2012, the Department dramatically increased participation in its Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), an internship program for college students with disabilities, by hiring six students, compared with one in 2011. The interns worked in the bureaus of Diplomatic Security, Overseas Buildings Operations and Human Resources.

The WRP aims to provide interns with work experience in a supportive environment that could lead to full-time employment. Participants gain federal government work experience, and managers are able to see the contributions people with disabilities can bring to the workforce. A government-wide program, WRP provides federal agencies annually with pre-screened, motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities.

HR's Office of Employee Relations' Disability Reasonable Accommodation Division (HR/ER/DRAD), which leads the Department's efforts to recruit, hire and retain persons with disabilities, funds the Department's WRP internships. WRP intern William Lewallen said his internship was a life-changing experience. "The internship gave me an up-close-and-personal look at the internal functions of the Department, and has further enticed my aspirations to become a Foreign Service officer," he said. "Through the program's stream-lined processes and the staff's accommodating expertise with disabled individuals, I have quite comfortably found a program that seeks as much out of me as I do of the program."

Managers also see value in the WRP. Ron Cruz, Lewallen's supervisor and chief of HR's Conduct, Suitability and Discipline Division, said that because his office has a perpetual need for resources, "It was an obvious win-win move to provide a meaningful opportunity for William to make an impact here in our division while also helping to promote career and internship opportunities for people with disabilities here at the State Department." For more information on WRP, contact DRAD at SelectivePlacement@state.gov.

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Publication:State Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 2012
Words:289
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