WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a funding opportunity of approximately $15 million in grants to state workforce agencies to develop flexible and innovative strategies to increase the participation of people with disabilities in federally funded employment and training programs.
The grants available are the eighth round of funding in the Disability Employment Initiative, a joint program of the department’s Employment and Training Administration and the Office of Disability Employment Policy. The DEI intends to assist state workforce agencies with strengthening their customer service to adults and youth with disabilities through improved coordination with employers and workforce system partners.
The funds are intended to enhance grantees’ ability to strategically use a career pathways framework to improve training and employment opportunities and outcomes for individuals with disabilities in employment and training services funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, in partnership with vocational rehabilitation, community colleges and other education entities, human service agencies and business partners. The projects will improve coordination between the public workforce system and industry to help businesses meet their workforce needs by recruiting, hiring and training individuals with disabilities.
Grantees will incorporate the following six career pathway elements into their projects:
- Building cross-agency partnerships and clarifying roles.
- Identifying industry sectors and engaging employers.
- Designing education and training programs.
- Identifying funding needs and sources.
- Aligning policies and programs.
- Measuring systems change and performance.
The department anticipates awarding approximately eight grants ranging from $1.5 to $2.5 million to be spent over a 36-month period. Funding will be provided to at least one project for each of the following two target populations: adults with disabilities (ages 18 and older) and youth with disabilities (ages 14-24).
State workforce agencies interested in applying for this funding should visit http://www.grants.gov.