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Defense Department Offers Program for Contractors Hiring Disabled Personnel

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The Department of Defense issued a proposed rule on Monday seeking to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to authorize demonstration projects for contractors that employ persons with disabilities.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision on defense contracting opportunities for companies that hire severely disabled personnel as part of the Demonstration Project, according to the Federal Register. The demonstration project is based on a Small Business Administration program and includes incentives for federal contractors.

The legislation states that at least 33 percent of the participating for-profit or nonprofit agency workforce must include individuals with severe disabilities. The company must also pay no less than the minimum wage to the individuals and provide them with health insurance and retirement benefits.

“Employing people with disabilities can be a way to offset the effects of an aging and shrinking workforce,” the notice stated. “In addition, people with disabilities bring different perspectives on solving problems and adapting to different circumstances.”

Interested parties may submit responses to the proposed rule by May 31.