Charlie McGrory, left, who has Down syndrome, and his brother Andy, who is also his trainer, shop for groceries at Hy-Vee in Winona, Minnesota in 2018. Charlie McGrory previously worked in a sheltered workshop, but is moved to integrated employment following a 2014 federal law that prioritizes helping people with disabilities find jobs in the community. (David Joles/Star Tribune/TNS)
Nine federal agencies are coming together to encourage state and local governments to do more to ensure people with disabilities can access and succeed in competitive integrated employment.
In a jointly published “Dear Colleague” letter and associated frequently asked questions document, the agencies outline what they say are best practices that localities can use to maximize funding and resources and ensure successful results.
“With limited resources, a single government agency can struggle to provide the full range of services that meet all the needs of job seekers with significant disabilities,” said Taryn M. Williams, Assistant Secretary of Labor for US Department’s Disability Employment Policy. of work. “This joint communication helps state and local agencies understand that resources can and should be tapped and used as an effective strategy to make competitive embedded employment a reality for those who face multiple barriers to employment. “
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The communications focus on three main strategies: mixing, braiding and sequencing.
Mixing brings together money from multiple sources that goes into a pot for a particular service or initiative. With braiding, funds from different places are kept separately, but used for a specific service. And sequencing is a strategy by which several types of funds are used in a set order to help a person with a disability seek, obtain or maintain competitive integrated employment.
“Through the blending, braiding and sequencing of resources, all partners can participate in achieving successful employment outcomes, while ensuring a seamless experience for job seekers receiving services,” reads the five-page correspondence.
The letter is signed by officials from the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Employment and Training Administration; the Department of Health and Human Services Community Living Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, Administration of Rehabilitation Services and Office of Special Education Programs; and the Social Security Administration’s Office of Retirement and Disability Policy.
“Coordinating federal resources will help address the challenges young people with disabilities too often face as they transition from education to employment and reverse the historically low labor force participation rate of adults with disabilities that limits their opportunities to contribute fully as colleagues, business owners and taxpayers,” said Alison Barkoff, Acting Administrator at the Administration for Community Living and Acting Assistant Secretary for Aging.
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