WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced a total of $9,286,909 in continued funding for organizations that develop models, provide technical assistance and share best practices to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
“Our economy’s strength relies on a workforce that is diverse and accessible to people with disabilities. We must provide every opportunity to fully integrate the labor force with individuals with disabilities so they can contribute to our nation’s prosperity,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “These grants will help better connect people with disabilities with employers that can greatly benefit from their skills and experience.”
The recipients and the amount of funding they are receiving are:
- The West Virginia University Research Corporation in Morgantown, West Virginia, is receiving $2,499,901 to operate the Job Accommodation Network. JAN is a free, confidential consulting service that provides individualized worksite accommodation solutions and technical assistance spanning the complete range of disabilities and job functions to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability-related legislation. It also provides information about self-employment and small business ownership opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
- The Institute for Educational Leadership in the District of Columbia is receiving $1,088,028 for the National Technical Assistance and Demonstration Center on Preparing Youth with Disabilities for Employment. These funds will be used to continue the center's work building capacity within and across youth service delivery systems to improve employment and postsecondary education outcomes for youth with disabilities. The center will focus on three areas: career exploration, management and planning; youth development and leadership; and professional development.
- The National Disability Institute, also in the District of Columbia, is receiving $1,098,573 to operate the National Center on Leadership for Employment and Advancement of Citizens with Disabilities. These funds will support the LEAD Center’s ongoing efforts to conduct policy and research initiatives focused on improving employment outcomes and economic advancement for individuals with disabilities. In addition, these resources will enable the LEAD Center to continue developing policies and guidance on best practices in retention and return-to-work, customizing employment and conducting policy analysis to ensure that American Job Centers nationwide are able to serve job seekers with disabilities effectively.
- The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America in Arlington, Virginia, is receiving $950,000 to operate ODEP's Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology Center. PEAT is a multifaceted initiative working to advance the employment, retention and career advancement of people with disabilities through the development, adoption and promotion of accessible technology.
- The Pathways to Careers: Community Colleges for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Demonstration Project is receiving a total of $1,802,057. The two recipients participating in this initiative – Onondaga Community College and Pellissippi State Community College – are conducting pilot projects to research, develop, test and evaluate innovative strategies for providing inclusive education and career development services to youth with disabilities. The goal of these projects 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.
The ODEP is the only non-regulatory federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities. For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/odep/.