ACL’s Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) recently awarded more than $1.8 million in funding to six states to increase competitive employment outcomes for youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The five-year grants will help enhance collaboration across existing state systems, including programs administered by state developmental disabilities agencies, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, state educational agencies, and other entities to prioritize employment as the first and preferred option for youth and young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
This funding, awarded as a Project of National Significance, is an expansion of the eight AIDD Partnerships in Employment Systems Change Initiative grants funded in 2011 and 2012.
The initiative reflects AIDD’s commitment to, and investment in, an Employment First approach built on the premise that with the right supports and accommodations people of all abilities can participate fully in integrated employment and community life. States work to align policies, service delivery practices, and reimbursement structures in order to ensure that youth and young adults with I/DD are supported to access integrated and competitive employment.
The 2016 grantee award recipients are:
- DC Department on Disability Services: DC Learners and Earners;
- University of Hawaii: Jobs Now Partnership (JNP);
- Human Development Institute, University Center for Excellence, University of Kentucky: Kentucky Employment Partnership for Youth with Significant Disabilities;
- The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS): Massachusetts Partnership for Transition to Employment;
- Able South Carolina: The South Carolina Employment First Initiative; and
- Utah Division of Services for People with Disabilities: Utah School to Work Interagency Transition Initiative.
AIDD has also awarded a $384,237 Cooperative Agreement to TASH to provide training and technical assistance to all of the Partnerships in Employment Systems Change grants. In addition, The Lewin Group has been awarded a contract to conduct an evaluation for the Partnerships in Employment Systems Change grants. Both projects have a funding period of five years.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and the value of a diverse workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. Follow #InclusionWorks and ACL’s Facebook and Twitter pages all month for employment stories and resources.