Feds recommend policies to expand employment of people with disabilities

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Charlie McGrory, left, who has Down Syndrome, and his brother Andy, who is also his job coach, pack groceries at Hy-Vee in Winona, Minnesota in 2018. Charlie McGrory previously worked in a sheltered workshop, but switched to integrated employment as a result of a 2014 federal law giving priority to helping people with disabilities find community work. (David Joles/Star Tribune/TNS)

Nine federal agencies come together to encourage state and local governments to do more to ensure people with disabilities access and thrive in competitive integrated employment.

In a jointly exhibited Letter “Dear Colleague”. and an associated one frequently asked Questions In the document, the agencies set out what they identify as best practices that communities can use to maximize funding and resources and ensure successful outcomes.

“With limited resources, it can be difficult for a single government agency to provide the full spectrum of services that meet all the needs of job seekers with significant disabilities,” said Taryn M. Williams, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy at the US Department of Labor. “This joint communication helps state and local authorities understand that resources can and should be harnessed and used as an effective strategy to achieve competitive integrated employment for those facing multiple employment barriers.”

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The communication focuses on three main strategies – blending, braiding and sequencing.

Blending brings money from multiple sources together into one pot for a specific service or initiative. In braiding, funds from different places are kept separate but used for a specific service. And sequencing is a strategy of using multiple types of resources in a specified order to help a person with a disability seek, obtain, or retain competitive integrated employment.

“By blending, braiding and sequencing resources, all partners can participate in achieving successful employment outcomes while ensuring a seamless experience for the job seeker receiving services,” read the five-page correspondence.

The letter is signed by officials from the Disability Employment Policy Office of the Department of Labor and the Employment and Training Administration; the Department of Health and Human Services‘ Administration for Community Living, 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 Office of Pensions and Disability Policy of the Social Security Administration.

“Coordination of federal funds will help address the challenges youth with disabilities all too often face in the transition from education to employment and reverse the historically low employment rate of adults with disabilities, which limits their ability to identify themselves as colleagues, Fully involve business owners and taxpayers. said Alison Barkoff, acting administrator of the Administration for Community Living and acting assistant secretary for aging.

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