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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Seeks Innovative Ideas to Improve Employment Outcomes for Youth Receiving Supplemental Security Income

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) today announced a new competitive initiative to identify and evaluate potential solutions to improve employment outcomes for young adults ages 14 to 24 who apply for or receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Through the initiative, ODEP is soliciting proposals from subject matter experts for innovative and evidence-based actions – including legislative, regulatory and policy changes – that can increase labor force participation and economic success among this population. Mathematica Policy Research will administer the initiative through a $1.075 million contract with ODEP.

“Our goal is a workforce that engages all Americans,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Jennifer Sheehy. “This means that young people with disabilities may grow up with the expectation that they can work and have access to opportunities to gain skills and experience. We hope these proposals will increase an overall understanding about what works, and how we can ensure public policy better supports young adults on Supplemental Security Income in their effort to join the workforce and achieve self-sufficiency.”

Applications must briefly describe applicants’ proposed policy solutions, and are due by February 27, 2020. ODEP will announce successful applicants in April 2020, and will then select approximately 10 individuals or teams to receive stipends of up to $20,000 and technical assistance to expand their proposed ideas into detailed white papers. Chosen applicants’ final white papers will be due in January 2021. ODEP will use the papers to inform the department, and share them with a broad audience of stakeholders at an upcoming conference in Washington, D.C., and widely with local, state and federal policymakers.

For more information about the SSI Youth Solutions project, including eligibility criteria and instructions on how to apply, visit

ODEP’s mission is to develop and influence policies and practices that increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. To fulfill this mission, ODEP promotes the adoption and implementation of ODEP policy strategies and effective practices – meaning those that ODEP has developed and/or validated – that will impact the employment of people with disabilities. ODEP’s approach is to drive systems and practice changes by disseminating ODEP policy strategies and effective practices, sharing information, and providing technical assistance to government agencies, service providers and non-governmental entities, as well as public and private employers. Through these activities, ODEP supports the ability of all Americans to find good jobs and develops evidence-based policies, practices and tools to foster a more inclusive workforce to increase quality employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

 The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Office of Disability Employment Policy
January 15, 2020
Release Number
Media Contact: Bennett Gamble
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