Despite their ability to occupy a variety of jobs, people with disabilities only account for 19.8 percent of the workforce, have more than double the unemployment rate compared to the general population and continue to face barriers finding work. To improve employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor announced grants totaling $14.9 million as part of the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) to six states, including California.
“America works best when we field a full team, and that means making sure that everyone has access to opportunity in our dynamic economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The grants we are awarding today will help to strengthen partnerships that ensure employers know that it is what people with disabilities CAN do that matters most.”
The State of California Employment Development Department was awarded $2.5 million. As a sub-recipient, the San Diego Workforce Partnership was awarded $600,000 to implement a Ticket to Work program in the region, which will:
- Be an opportunity to align additional funding for individuals with disabilities with successful employment outcomes
- Identify opportunities to improve service delivery to people with disabilities and generate awareness in the business community about the opportunities for and benefits of hiring people with disabilities
- Connect job seekers with disabilities to careers in one of San Diego’s five Priority Sectors
- Provide customized job training and support services from career centers and a network of 17 federally-funded providers, all while being supported by a team of experts in mental health, vocational rehabilitation, independent living services and programs for the deaf and visually impaired
“Through the Workforce Partnership’s existing career pathways in Priority Sectors, the DOL grant will provide for greater efficiency and planning in delivering quality services individualized to the job seeker’s needs and employment goals while increasing synergy across programs, partners and funding streams,” says Andrew Picard, SDWP Director of Adult Programs. “As a result, the Workforce Partnership will expand the capacity of the career centers to improve outcomes for people with disabilities and results for employers.”