On September 27, 2011, The U.S. Labor Department allocated more than $21 million to seven states under the Disability Employment Initiative to improve employment services for those unemployed, underemployed, and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. California, Hawaii, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin received new grants and Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Virginia received continuing grants. The two government agencies funding this initiative are the US Labor Department's Employment and Training administration and its Office of Disability Employment Policy.
The goal of Disability Employment Initiative is to ensure that all workers, including those with disabilities, will be able to benefit from employment and retraining services, so that they can attain permanent employment opportunities. Projects funded through these grants vary but include: hiring staff with expertise in disability and workforce issues; supporting collaboration across multiple workforce and disability service systems; and expanding the workforce development system’s participation in the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program by requiring participating state workforce agencies or local workforce investment boards to become employment networks.
This is important progress and a great accomplishment for the disability community. The Society will keep working to ensure equal access. For more information on the grants, click here.