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News Release

$2M awarded by US Labor Department to improve
post-secondary education and employment of youth with disabilities

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced $2,007,322 in grants to Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York, and Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as part of the Pathways to Careers: Community Colleges for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Demonstration Project.

Onondaga Community College will receive $978,453 and Pellissippi State Community College will receive $1,028,869 to conduct pilot projects that research, develop, test and evaluate innovative strategies for providing inclusive education and career development services to youth with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 24. The aim is to determine what works to help young people with disabilities acquire the skills, degrees and credentials needed for high-wage, high-skill employment so that these effective practices can be shared and replicated throughout the community college system.

"These federal awards will help our nations community colleges prepare youth with disabilities with the necessary skills for jobs in high-growth, high-demand industries," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Expanding services to students with disabilities will also provide insights into making curricula more accessible for all students."

These grants are also closely aligned with the Obama administration's job-driven training principles. Local employers will be involved in identifying necessary skills and competencies; assisting with curriculum and program design; providing education and training resources; and hiring qualified program participants.

Grantees will use ODEP's Guideposts for Success as a framework to structure projects. They will use industry-recognized credentials, including certifications, diplomas and degrees, to provide program participants with the skills needed to attain integrated employment at competitive wages.

ODEP works to increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities by developing and influencing policies and practices. For more information on ODEP and these grant awards, visit

Office of Disability Employment Policy
September 29, 2014
Release Number