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Gopal Bill to Fast-Track Hiring of People With Disabilities in Public Sector Clears Committee

TRENTON – In an effort to provide an example and bolster awareness that persons with disabilities can be valued employees, the Senate Labor Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal to establish a fast-tracking authority for hiring and promoting persons with significant disabilities under the Civil Service Commission, in consultation with the Division of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.


The bill, S-3418, would allow for a person with significant disabilities to be appointed to an unclassified service position, a noncompetitive temporary position, or noncompetitive permanent position in the career service of civil service. The appointing authority would require proof of the person’s significant disability prior to making an appointment.


“Hiring and employment statistics tell us what we have known for some time, which is that individuals with disabilities are underrepresented and overlooked in the New Jersey workforce, while also experiencing higher rates of poverty,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “This measure would help break that cycle.”


The legislation also provides a mechanism that would open the door for a qualified person to be appointed to a permanent position when it is determined that certain qualifying criteria have been met, including whether the person is likely to succeed in performing the duties of a given position.


“This bill is aimed at giving people with disabilities a chance to succeed, while also recognizing that individuals can benefit from the experience of employment in State agencies, where they can gain skills and receive benefits through both internships and employment in the public sector. Meantime, the State can benefit from the unique contributions that these individuals can make as employees.”


The bill was passed out of committee by a vote of 5-0.