WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of $8 million in funding over four years to manage the Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Development Center.

Administered by the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the LEAD Center is currently operated by a third-party contractor, and will soon be funded by the grant announced today. Once awarded, the center will continue to ensure people with disabilities, including those from historically underserved communities, have equal access to publicly funded workforce programs and services.

The LEAD Center focuses on advancing economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities, creating career pathways to competitive integrated employment and increasing data reporting on disability through WIOA programs. 

“Many people with disabilities make important contributions to our nation’s economy, but systemic barriers prevent others from preparing for and obtaining employment, achieving financial independence and reaching their full potential,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Taryn M. Williams. “Initiatives like the LEAD Center are intended to address these inequities and ensure all workers, from all backgrounds, have access to workforce services.”

The LEAD Center is a core component of ODEP’s ongoing work with publicly funded workforce programs and services to maximize opportunities for people with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, to set and achieve personal goals for success in competitive integrated employment. CIE is employment in a community setting where most workers do not have disabilities and employees with disabilities are paid directly by their employer at the greater of the minimum or prevailing wage.

Apply for the funding opportunity by the June 11, 2022 deadline.

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