WASHINGTON – Rhode Island will receive $3.3 million from the U.S. Labor Department as part of $20.7 million in Disability Employment Initiative funding nationwide.
Rhode Island is one of seven states receiving the grant, along with neighboring Massachusetts, meant to fund education, training and employment projects for those with disabilities who are unemployed, underemployed or receiving Social Security disability benefits.
“This program represents our strong commitment to assisting people with disabilities in securing good jobs and providing career pathways,” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in a statement. “These Employment and Training Administration grants will expand the capacity of the public workforce system to provide training and employment services to people with disabilities.”
The $20.7 million is the third round of funding under the Disability Employment Initiative, which currently supports 16 state projects.
The seven states benefiting from this most recent round of funding, in addition to Rhode Island and Massachusetts, are Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana and Minnesota.
All of the projects supported by the Disability Employment Initiative build on previous department initiatives and support collaboration across different workforce and disability service systems in each state. Some of the programs include: vocational rehabilitation, mental health, intellectual/developmental disability agencies, independent living centers and business leadership networks, as well as other community and nonprofit organizations.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to today’s workforce,” Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, said in a statement. “Enhancing the workforce system’s ability to provide effective coordinated and collaborative service delivery will help to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the employment training and supports they need to achieve self-sufficiency.”