In a promising move towards fostering greater inclusivity and empowering individuals with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor, through its Office of Disability Employment Policy, has announced the allocation of over $69 million in grants to states, designed to usher young people with disabilities into the workforce. This initiative seeks to address historical barriers that have impeded the transition from school to work for marginalized youth and young adults with disabilities.
Taryn M. Williams, the agency’s assistant secretary for disability employment policy, highlighted the systemic challenges that have hindered employment opportunities for youth and young adults with disabilities to Disability Scoop last week. “When it comes to finding and exploring opportunities for employment, youth and young adults with disabilities have historically faced systemic barriers related to their disabilities,” Williams remarked. She further underscored the significance of this funding opportunity in identifying effective policies and practices that will facilitate a successful transition to employment, fostering a more equitable and inclusive workforce.
Eligibility for the grant is extended to state agencies focused on labor, employment, education, health and human services, vocational rehabilitation services, or workforce development. The U.S. Department of Labor has emphasized that the funding should be utilized to develop “scalable strategies” aimed at enhancing employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities who belong to multiply=marginalized groups. The U.S. Department of Labor has emphasized that the funding should be utilized to develop “scalable strategies” aimed at enhancing employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities who belong to multiply-marginalized groups. The target demographic for this initiative includes individuals between the ages of 14 and 24.
Over the course of five years, up to four grants will be awarded, signifying a sustained commitment to fostering positive change in the employment landscape for young people with disabilities. The application window for states to submit their proposals is open until October 31.
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