The US Department of Labor announced grants totaling $18,597,758 to eight states to provide education, training and employment opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities.
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The grants are part of the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), a program jointly funded and administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration and Office of Disability Employment Policy.
According to a press release, this is the fourth round of the DEI, which currently supports 23 projects. Three new states — Alabama, Connecticut and Idaho — are being awarded in this round, while the remaining five states — Alaska, Illinois, New York and Virginia — are receiving additional funding to expand and replicate the best practices they developed using DEI funds as recipients in the first round of the program. The grants support extensive partnerships and collaboration across multiple workforce and disability service systems in each state.
The DEI-funded projects are required to hire or designate a disability resource coordinator with disability and workforce expertise, who will work at the local workforce investment board level; verify American Job Center compliance with physical, programmatic and communications accessibility; participate in Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program as active Employment Networks; and participate in rigorous evaluation of the DEI program.
“To thrive in the competitive international marketplace, employers need access to a diverse pool of qualified job seekers,” Thomas E. Perez,Secretary of Labor, stated in a press release. “These federal grants expand that pool and show our commitment to creating career pathways and employment opportunities that result in economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.”