WI-BPDD Awarded Employment Grant for Youth with Disabilities
Let’s Get to Work project will bring $1.8M to state
The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (WI-BPDD) has been awarded a $1.82 million five-year federal grant designed to improve employment outcomes for transition-age youth with disabilities.
The grant, which was awarded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, will fund the Let’s Get to Work project with a goal of developing and implementing policies and practices that will elevate community expectations and overall employment outcomes for youth with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD).
The project will analyze data gathered from school pilot sites and develop strategies for dissemination of policies and practices, grassroots advocacy, and implementation. Ultimately, the project will embed findings into existing policies and practices at the local, state, and federal levels, resulting in sustainable, improved employment and self-sufficiency outcomes for youth with I/DD.
In Wisconsin, individuals with I/DD enrolled in the adult long-term care system have community-based employment rates of only 9-14%.
“This is a terrific opportunity to start while youth are still in school in providing them the opportunities and skills they need to be career and college-ready when they graduate,” said Beth Swedeen, WI-BPDD Executive Director and Principal Investigator for the project.
“Nationally, we know that when people with disabilities are employed in the community, their quality of life is improved and they contribute to the state’s economy and use fewer tax-funded public services. It really is win-win.”
The project will be guided by the broad-based Let’s Get to Work Consortium that includes, among others, the Department of Health Services, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The project will be managed by the WI-BPDD. The grant will span five years and total $1.82M.
This grant was awarded just before October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). To recognize NDEAM, the WI-BPDD is mounting the Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign to acknowledge and celebrate Wisconsin workers with disabilities. For more information about the campaign, go to http://www.wi-bpdd.org/stateplan/stateplan2012-2016/TakeYourLegislatortoWork.cfm.