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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont Announces Connecticut Receives $13.9 Million Grant To Increase Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals With Disabilities

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, a division of the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services, has been awarded a $13.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration through its Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment project, which is designed to decrease the use of subminimum wages and increase access to competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities.

The grant, which runs through September 30, 2027, will begin with a year dedicated to careful planning by the state agency and its partners to gather important stakeholder input and build a model of supported and accessible pathways leading to sustainable competitive integrated employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The remaining years of the grant will involve fully implementing this model and evaluating its effectiveness. Connecticut received the maximum grant award possible.

Over the duration of the grant, the Department of Aging and Disability Services will reach out to a target population comprised of those who are currently working in subminimum wage employment, those who recently worked in it, and those who are considering working in it. The vast majority of this population is expected to include individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services is collaborating closely with the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services on this initiative.

“This grant provides Connecticut with a significant resource allowing us to develop innovative career training opportunities for youths and adults with disabilities so they can secure good-paying jobs and obtain careers in competitive integrated employment,” Governor Lamont said. “This will align closely with our recently launched job skills training initiative CareerConneCT, launching in November, which is providing our state’s residents with reskilling and upskilling in many industry-focused areas and matching them to available job opportunities. All workers, including those who have disabilities, deserve to be paid fairly for their work and deserve an opportunity to build economic security that allows them live independently and thrive in their communities.”

“Individuals with disabilities deserve an equal opportunity to pursue and advance their careers,” the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation said in a joint statement. “This grant serves as a crucial driver in increasing employment access and encouraging employers across Connecticut to build a diverse and inclusive workforce. We congratulate Commissioner Amy Porter and the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services on this important award and thank the partnering businesses and organizations for their commitment to inclusivity.”

Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter explained that individuals with disabilities often encounter multiple barriers to meaningful, equal-paying employment.

“It is not only important that individuals with disabilities are well-informed about the employment opportunities that exist, but that equal wages, benefits, and work environments be afforded to everyone performing similar job duties,” Commissioner Porter said. “Our Bureau of Rehabilitation Services has worked hard with our partners to find ways to encourage and support informed choice to maximize potential.”

“This grant provides a great opportunity for meaningful collaboration among our partners and stakeholders, with the goals of making needed supports available and ensuring individuals and families have access to them,” Dave Doukas, director of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, said. “We are appreciative for the formal support our proposal received from the 23 separate Connecticut entities, including the Governor’s Workforce Council, the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services, the Connecticut Department of Labor, the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities, many advocacy organizations, community rehabilitation providers, and business partners, such as Advance Auto Parts.”

This federal grant will serve as a large boost to employment services for the many Connecticut residents already being provided by the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services and the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services.

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