Employers will be able to enhance their skills in recruiting, retaining and accommodating employees with disabilities thanks to a $12.7 million grant that UNT Workplace Inclusion & Sustainable Employment (UNT WISE) will implement in collaboration with the Texas Workforce Commission.
The five-year grant, which is aimed at employers who use subminimum wage contracts, will create the Texas Beacons of Excellence (TBE) -- identifying local career opportunities; collaborating with public and private employers with Section 14C certificates to adapt their business models to emphasize customized and supported employment arrangements; and creating a pipeline from high school to competitive, integrated employment.
"This project aligns directly with our mission to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities by researching innovative best practices, training professionals in effective and ethical service and directly supporting the disability community," says Lucy Gafford, director of UNT WISE.
The U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration awarded the grant to the TWC's Vocational Rehabilitation Services, which helps people with disabilities prepare for, find and retain employment, and assists youth and students preparing for postsecondary opportunities.
UNT WISE will provide training across communities and connect employers, self-advocates, 14C facilities, educational staff and community rehabilitation providers.