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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ODEP News Release: [08/30/2010]
Contact Name: Bennett Gamble or Clarisse Young
Phone Number: (202) 693-4667 or x5051
Release Number: 10-1165-NAT

US Labor Departmentís Office of Disability Employment Policy announces nearly $1 million in continued funding for youth center

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced that it will exercise the second option year of its cooperative agreement with the Institute for Educational Leadership and award an additional $999,926 to continue funding the Youth Technical Assistance Center through the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

"Focusing on transition-age youth is an important part of addressing the under-representation of people with disabilities in the labor force," said Kathleen Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy. "Many youth with disabilities still don't have access to age-appropriate experiences, especially when it comes to work. We are working to change this at ODEP."

NCWD/Youth focuses its technical assistance efforts on state and local workforce development systems and assists them in better serving youth with disabilities. NCWD/Youth and its partners, including experts in disability, education, employment, and workforce development, strive to ensure that policy makers, youth service professionals, educators, families and youth receive cutting edge information on the connection between education, employment and independent living.

The Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the July 2010 employment rate for individuals ages 16 to 19 at 14.6 percent, compared to 17.7 percent for same-aged peers without disabilities. Additionally, BLS reports an employment rate of 32.7 percent for individuals age 20 to 24 compared to 64.1 percent for the same age group with no disabilities.

In September 2007, the Labor Department competitively awarded IEL a 24-month cooperative agreement for $1,850,000 with three option years to manage a consortium for developing effective practices and policies to enhance employment opportunities for youth with disabilities.

The other members of the consortium include the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals in Washington, DC; the PACER Center in Minneapolis, Minn.; the Center on Education and Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Community Integration in Minneapolis.

To find out more about the NCWD Youth National Technical Assistance Center visit their website at http://www.ncwd-youth.info.