Since 2010, the DOL has awarded grants of more than $123 million through the initiative to 49 projects in 28 states to improve education, training, and employment outcomes of youth and adults with disabilities.
DEI funds help refine and expand workforce strategies proven to be successful, and enhance inclusive service delivery through the public workforce system. Improvements include increasing the accessibility of American Job Centers, training front-line AJC and partner staff, and increasing partnerships and collaboration across numerous systems critical for assisting youth and adults with disabilities in securing meaningful employment.
Grantees of this year’s awards will use the funds to:
- Improve employment outcomes and increase the number of individuals with disabilities who earn credentials.
- Provide more and diversified job-driven training opportunities.
- Facilitate academic and employment transition among youth.
- Incorporate flexible approaches to designing and providing training and supportive services, including customized employment strategies to help jobseekers with significant disabilities.
- Build effective community partnerships and collaborations across multiple service delivery systems and the effective blending and braiding of resources.
- Promote more active engagement with the business sector.
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.