The University of Rochester Medical Center’s Institute for Innovative Transition has won a $2.3 million federal grant to work with New York agencies to help create employment opportunities for the developmentally disabled.
The Department of Health and Human Services grant money would be used to help the URMC institute, several state agencies and other stakeholders form a consortium, officials said Thursday.
“With this grant, we’ll be able to work with our statewide partners to engage in systemic change and policies that will result in increased access to and support for integrated, competitive employment,” institute co-director Susan Hetherington said.
Fewer than 17 percent of developmentally disabled individuals nationally are employed and many that are working have jobs in special programs that pay less than minimum wage. The institute and its state partners hope to dramatically improve that statistic in New York by replicating and building on programs the institute has created locally.
Launched in 2008, the institute is a collaboration among the B.Thomas Golisano Foundation, URMC’s Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities and UR’s Warner School of Education. Working with partners including the Arc of Monroe County, the Rochester City School District and others it has developed a work readiness program that is training 12 Rochester students. It also works with Wegmans Food Markets Inc.
State agencies that plan to join the new consortium are: the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and the state Education Department and the state Education Department’s Office of Special Education, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation.
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