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Sweeney Bill Would Promote Public Sector Employment Opportunities for the Disabled

Trenton – In an effort to help promote the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the public sector workforce, Senate President Steve Sweeney introduced legislation allowing job seekers to gain exemptions from civil service exams.

The bill, S-3689, would set a process for those with disabilities to apply for an exemption to the normally-required exam if they are qualified to perform the duties of entry-level positions in government.

“People with disabilities have proven to be excellent workers when they are given a fair opportunity,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Holding a job better enables them to live full and rewarding lives as they are fully engaged in day-to-day life with others. The civil service exam can be an unreasonable obstacle even though they are fully capable of performing the work.”

Current law requires anyone seeking a civil service position to pass a competitive exam for entry-level positions. Senator Sweeney’s bill would allow those with a disability to seek an exemption to the test. If the Civil Service Commission determines the applicant is capable of performing the duties of the position, they could waive the requirement. They would have to verify their disability, under the bill.

“About 25 percent of New Jersey adults have some type of disability, but there is a clear discrepancy with how many of them are actually in the workforce,” said Senator Sweeney. “In order to facilitate a more inclusive society, we must also ensure that individuals with disabilities are receiving equal opportunities to participate in state jobs. The public sector should lead the way to advance the rights of the disabled.”

Senator Sweeney recently joined with other legislators in the creation of The New Jersey Legislative Disability Caucus to serve as a bipartisan forum to promote inclusion in shaping public policies through increased awareness of the complexities of the disabilities system and issues impacting individuals with disabilities and their families.

Senator Sweeney is a co-sponsor, along with Senator Fred Madden, of a bill to create a Task Force to Promote Employment by State Agencies of People with Disabilities.