U.S. Department of Labor: Disability Employment Initiative Grants
The Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Grants program aims to provide funding to expand the capacity of American Job Centers (AJCs), also known as One-Stop Centers, to promote the use of existing career pathways to serve two populations: 1) adults (ages 18 and older) with visible, non-visible, and significant disabilities, including those who have acquired disabilities in adulthood; and 2) youth (ages 14-24) with visible, non-visible, and significant disabilities, including those who have chronic health conditions. Under this round of funding, grantees will focus on improvements needed to make their existing “career pathways” systems fully inclusive of and accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Grant funds may be used to support activities under any of the six career pathways program elements identified in the Career Pathways Toolkit: A Guide for System Development (link opens a PDF) and the Career Pathways Toolkit: An Enhanced Guide and Workbook for System Development (link opens a PDF). Grantees must leverage Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) core programs and other program resources to the greatest extent possible to fund education, employment, and training activities, as well as supportive services for participants. Allowable use of grant funds may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Universal design: Universally designed services and program activities for individuals either participating in or seeking to access and participate in existing career pathways programs resulting in strengthening the capacity of the American Job Center to serve more individuals with disabilities.
- Services and program activities: Training (including classroom training and on-the-job training), career services, supportive services that help jobseekers stay in training, benefits counseling, and case management; accessible curriculum design and modifications; strength-based and alternate assessments; customer-centered service strategies, integrated resource teams, individualized learning/career development plans, and customized employment for people with significant disabilities; youth transition-related services; paid and unpaid work experiences; and participation in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Ticket to Work Program (TTW).
- Project staff: Disability Resource Coordinators (DRCs) or Disability Program Navigators to enhance knowledge; facilitate cross-agency collaboration, leverage available resources (including through the use of Integrated Resource Teams), and advise the public workforce system on changes needed to make the existing career pathways system fully accessible and inclusive of individuals with disabilities; case managers; and other staff necessary to implement inclusive career pathways systems and programming, including subject matter experts or consultants, if reasonable and necessary to the design of the project.
- Professional development: Necessary staff trainings and capacity building to achieve program goals, including but not limited to expanding the use of universal design strategies and strategies necessary to enhance physical and programmatic accessibility.
- Travel: Necessary travel to conduct activities across the state or local workforce development area(s), as well as the travel costs for the state project lead and local area DRCs to attend one national conference in Washington, D.C.
Amount: A total of $15,000,000 is available to fund approximately eight grants that range from $1,500,000-$2,500,000. The intent is to award at least one grant in each of the two population focus areas. The performance period is for 36 months.
Eligibility: The following organizations are eligible to apply:
- State workforce agencies (SWAs) eligible for funding under Title I of WIOA or for funding under the W-P Act.
- Entities described in section 166(c) of WIOA relating to Indian and Native American programs. These entities include Indian tribes, tribal organizations, Alaska Native entities, Indian-controlled organizations serving Indians, or Native Hawaiian organizations. These applicants are not required to partner with Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs).
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