Right from the beginning of 21st century, there has been certain growth in movements promoting disability rights including that of disabled veterans and has gained weight through political, social and legal channels. As per the disability rights perspective, disabled veterans should be considered as a minority group often facing discrimination as well as unfair treatment. This perspective is far from the people’s charitable perspective according to which persons with disabilities deserve care and support because of being unfortunate. Even medical viewpoints have been different, according to which people with disabilities are subjects requiring medical attention for cure and rehabilitation process with the help of experts and professionals. The point of contention is that all the above mentioned perspectives have stressed on disability factor rather than the ability of the person involved. The more logical point of view concerning disabled war veterans is that these people are actually qualified Americans with sufficient talent to contribute to the society and country. Their contribution would be within some limitations in form of certain physical or psychological activities and hence deserve to be treated fairly while providing avenues to work and earning a livelihood.
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Now the point of discussion moves to the given question “should disabled veterans get preferential treatment over better qualified candidates who are not disabled veterans?” As discussed in the last few lines of the above paragraph, the important thing is that of realization of the fact that these disabled veterans possess talents to contribute but at the same time there are certain limitations in the way their services could be utilized. This outcome of the discussion is more than sufficient to understand those job opportunities for a disabled person are limited. Their situation can be compared to that of women. Women can’t be employed in several sectors or industries like mining which require rigorous physical work and hence they are provided jobs depending on their strength. In the same manner, disabled veterans should also be given priority over more qualified candidates who are not disabled veterans over two reasons. First of the two is that; other non-disabled candidates have unlimited scope over opportunities available and are technically fit enough to apply their skills in a wide range of jobs. The possibility of getting a job for non-disabled candidates is much higher than that of disabled veterans. Another reason is the utilization of workforce which can be harnessed under certain limitations. Giving priority to disabled veterans is like adding more human capital into the economy which is always short of required manpower. Disability should be treated as some sort of limitations in talent and hence giving priority while assigning work is like harnessing the usable talent of the disabled veteran.
As discussed above, affirmative actions are a necessity for greater assimilation of disabled veterans in the society and nation building and the very beginning of this process is with accepting the reality that disabled persons have equal right as well skill for contributing a workplace. And there is the need for several D. C. government and federal employers to treat disabled as qualified and skillful. Application of affirmative action for disabled veterans is a necessity as in several government organizations are still underemployed and often undervalued while concerning with people with disabilities. Several statistical details suggest that the percentage of federal employees with disabilities has been on decline and from 1.24 percent in the year 1993 and 1994; the actual figure in financial year 2006 is 0.94 percent. And during the same period the size of federal workforce have increased. Participation of permanently employed people among disabled ones has reduced sharply from 15.9 percent in the year 1985 to a pity 3.2 percent in 1995. These figures are sufficient enough in showing government’s apathy towards the concerns of disabled and its commitment towards rehabilitating disabled veterans. The reality that comes out of these statistical details is that of reluctance in creating more inclusive environment for disabled in its structure and carving ways for more contribution from disabled.
Another inglorious aspect of the statistical data is that of higher rate of retirement among disabled. Almost 39.41 percent of employees with disability and working for federal government have retired or separated from their employer in the year 2006. This has perhaps exceeded all other types of job related separations and underscores the real picture of the job environment in several government institutions for disabled. The need of the hour is to encourage more disabled veterans to be a part of the system that has some role in nation building. Developing a more inclusive as well as disabled friendly culture in an organization could help in accommodating disabled into mainstream of employment and opportunity. Invoking affirmative action is perhaps the most appropriate way for implementing the above mentioned objective and hence disable veterans should be given priority over other more qualified candidates.