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Labor Department announces availability of $15.6M in grants to help youth, adults with disabilities to thrive in the workforce
WASHINGTON – Hoping to remove some of the obstacles that Americans with disabilities may face in their search for employment, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of approximately $15.6 million in grants intended to increase the participation of youth and adults with disabilities in federally funded education and training programs.
The department’s Disability Employment Initiative will make the grants – ranging from $1.5 to $2.5 million each – available to state workforce agencies to develop flexible and innovative strategies to engage more people with disabilities in employment services. The department anticipates awarding eight grants for at least one project for each of the following target populations: adults with disabilities (ages 18 and older), youth with disabilities (ages 14-24) and individuals with significant disabilities (ages 14 and older).
“People with disabilities have tremendous talents and ideas to contribute to our workplaces, our communities, and our nation's economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The funding announced today will help to prepare these workers for good jobs and build strong ladders of opportunity to the middle-class.”
Since 2010, the department has awarded more than $109 million in grants through the DEI to 43 state workforce agencies in 27 states to improve education, training, and employment outcomes of youth and adults with disabilities. Recipients use the funds to refine and expand workforce strategies proven to be successful, and enhance inclusive service delivery through the public workforce system. Improvements include: increasing the accessibility of American Job Centers; training front-line AJC and partner staff; and increasing partnerships and collaboration across numerous systems that are critical for assisting youth and adults with disabilities in securing meaningful employment.
DEI cooperative agreements align closely with the Obama administration’s job-driven training principles by requiring multiple workforce and disability service providers, educational institutions, and businesses in each state to collaborate extensively with each other.
Workforce agencies interested in applying for this funding should visit http://www.grants.gov. The deadline to apply is Aug. 1, 2016.