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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Awards 12 Recipients for Improving 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 funding awards under its Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Youth Solutions initiative, which aims to identify and evaluate strategies for improving employment outcomes for young adults from ages 14 to 24 who apply for or receive SSI.

Under this initiative, ODEP solicited 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, a policy research company based in Princeton, New Jersey, is administering the initiative under contract with ODEP.

ODEP received more than 45 proposals and selected 12 to receive stipends and technical assistance to expand their proposed ideas into detailed white papers. In turn, the agency will use these white papers to inform their work on this issue, and share them with a broad audience of stakeholders, including local, state and federal policymakers.

"We are excited to now be at the point when we can help expand upon initial promising ideas and develop them further to see what's possible," said Office of Disability Employment Policy Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy. "There is a wide range of ideas to explore, and it's our hope that, once examined closely, they'll help the department and our federal agency partners promote policy that better supports young adults on SSI envision a life of work and self-sufficiency."

The SSI Youth Solutions initiative award recipients include:

SSI Youth Solutions initiative award recipients

Proposed Solution

Subject Matter Expert(s): Organization(s)


SSI "Employment Empowerment" Initiative – A First Step Intervention for SSI Eligible Youth Designed to Build Their Employment Self-Confidence, Ambition, Job Seeking and Holding Skills

Paul Hippolitus: University of California, Berkeley

San Francisco, California

Family Employment Awareness Training: A Research-Based Program for Promoting High Expectations for Employment and Knowledge of Resources

Judith Gross, Stephanie Gage and Grace Francis – Indiana Institute on Disability and Community; Indiana University- Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana

Progressive Education: An Assertive and Inclusive Approach to Supporting Students and Youth with Disabilities to Access Postsecondary Education and Training Opportunities

James Smith, Rich Tulikangas and Tara Howe: Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Waterbury, Vermont

Improving Engagement and Employment Outcomes with SSI Youth through Family Empowerment: Expanding on the Wisconsin PROMISE Model

Catherine Anderson, Ellie Hartman and D.J. Ralston: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

Career Technical Education for Students with Emotional Disturbance

Colleen McKay and Marsha Ellison: University of Massachusetts Medical School

Boston, Massachusetts

Building an Apprenticeship Infrastructure for SSI Youth

Daniel Kuehn: Urban Institute

Washington, D.C.

Improving Youth SSI Recipient's Employment Outcomes Through an Integrated Treatment Team Intervention in a Healthcare Setting

Melanie Honsbruch, Teresa Nguyen and Aryn Taylor: Colorado Office of Employment First; University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Denver, Colorado

Secondary Systems Linkages and Transition Tracker: A System Approach to Enhance Post School Employment Outcomes

Jade Ann Gingerich and Kelli Crane: Maryland Department of Disabilities

Baltimore, Maryland

Efficacy of Short-Term Career and Technical Training in a Residential Setting for Transition Youth with Disabilities

Kevin Hollenbeck: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Improving Outcomes for Transition Aged Youth on SSI by Delaying Application of SSI's Substantial Gainful Activity Eligibility Criteria from Age 18 to 22

Sheryl A. Larson and Judy Geyer: Institute on Community Integration; University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

SSI Youth and Family Systems Navigator: Bridging Education, Workforce Development, Medicaid, and SSA through Comprehensive Case Management

Thomas P. Golden and Andrew Karhan: Yang Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

A Strategy for Building a Transition to Economic Self-Sufficiency Program for Youth and Young Adults with Significant Disabilities

David Stapleton: Tree House Economics LLC

Waterbury, Vermont

The award recipients will draft their policy ideas this spring. They will produce final papers for ODEP and present their recommendations at a conference in Washington, D.C., in early 2021. Following the presentations, Mathematica will produce a synthesis report summarizing the job-creating options.

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. Its mission is to develop and influence policies and practices that increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Learn more about ODEP.

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
April 29, 2020
Release Number
Media Contact: Bennett Gamble
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