Department of Labor Announces Disability Employment Initiative Grants For Individuals with Disabilities Seeking Employment

Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced $15 million in Disability Employment Initiative grants to assist youth and adults with disabilities seeking employment. The Disability Employment Initiative is a joint program of the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration and the Office of Disability Employment Policy. DOL anticipates awarding eight grants — ranging from $1.5 to $2.5 million — to be spent in a 42 month period. Funding will be provided to at least one project for each of the following three target populations: adults with disabilities (ages 18 and older); youth with disabilities (ages 14-24); and individuals with significant disabilities (ages 14 and older). Workforce agencies interested in applying for this funding should visit http://www.grants.gov. The deadline to apply is June 11, 2015.

National Governors Association Issues Report on Employment for People with Disabilities

At the National Governors Association (NGA) meeting on August 2, 2013, outgoing NGA Chair Governor Jack Markell (DE) wrapped up his year-long Chair’s Initiative, “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities.” The initiative focused on “the employment challenges that affect individuals with intellectual and other significant disabilities and the role that both state government and business can play in facilitating and advancing opportunities for these individuals to be gainfully employed in the competitive labor market.” At the NGA meeting, Governor Markell released a final Blueprint for Governors summarizing the initiative’s activities, findings, and recommendations. The blueprint presents five topic areas with examples of actions governors can take in each area:
  • Make disability employment part of the state workforce development strategy.
  • Find and support businesses in their efforts to employ people with disabilities.
  • Be a model employer by increasing the number of people with disabilities working in state government.
  • Prepare youth with disabilities for careers that use their full potential, providing employers with a pipeline of skilled workers.
  • Make the best use of limited resources to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Governor Markell appeared recently on the PBS NewsHour to talk about the initiative and Blueprint.
Additionally, incoming NGA Chair Governor Mary Fallin (OK) has announced that her Chair’s Initiative will also focus on employment: “America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs.”

Department of Labor awards grants under Disability Employment Initiative

The Department of Labor announced $20,654,352 for seven states under the Disability Employment Initiative to improve education, training, and employment opportunities and outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities who are unemployed, underemployed and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. The new grants are being awarded to Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island.