Education Department Awards $177 Million in New Grants to Increase Competitive Integrated Employment for People with Disabilities | U.S – US Department of Education

by | Sep 21, 2022 | Education

Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) announced new five-year grant awards for the Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment (SWTCIE) demonstration project to 14 state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies. The purpose of these grants is to decrease the use of subminimum wages and increase access to competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities. These VR agencies will receive funding from the Disability Innovation Fund (DIF) to support increasing access for people with disabilities to jobs that pay good wages.
“President Biden always says that a good-paying job is about more than a paycheck, it’s about dignity, and that’s why we can no longer accept a status quo in which so many individuals with disabilities are segregated from the workforce and relegated into poverty-wage jobs that offer no pathway to higher earnings,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Our Real Pay for Real Jobs Initiative is about building a more equitable, inclusive workforce that thrives on the talents of Americans of all abilities. These grants will support innovative efforts underway across the country to provide educational opportunities to youth and adults with disabilities so they can secure better-paying jobs, build economic security, and lead more fulfilling, independent lives.”
This grant program advances a key Biden-Harris Administration goal of strengthening the economic security of Americans with disabilities. These grants align existing and emerging employment opportunities with the needs of employers and our nation’s public infrastructure. Using innovative approaches, state vocational rehabilitation agencies will assist job seekers with disabilities to secure high-quality jobs for real pay in the areas of green jobs, essential worker industries, the transportation industry, and the arts in which they will work alongside their non-disabled peers at comparable wages. Each project embraces collaborative efforts among multiple partners and stakeholders, including state and local providers, public and private employers, and advocates.
“Far too many people with disabilities would like to work but are living in poverty because they have not had the opportunity to find a career in a competitive integrated emp …

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