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Disability Employment Initiative

Madera County Workforce Investment Board 1 of 5 in California to Receive Disability Employment Initiative Grant

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded over $21 million to seven states under the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) to improve education, training, and employment opportunities and outcomes of youth and adults with disabilities who are unemployed, underemployed, and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. The DEI has been awarded to 5 local Workforce Investment Boards in California; one being the Madera County Workforce Investment Board.

The DEI is jointly funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). This is the second round of funding under the Disability Employment Initiative, which now supports 16 state projects. The DEI builds upon the previous Disability Program Navigator initiative, which ran from 2000 to 2010 and supports extensive partnerships, collaboration and service coordination, of which the Madera County WIB was also a recipient of.

The following strategic service delivery components have been identified by Madera for implementation of the DEI project:

  •      Outreach with employers to educate and promote hiring of individuals with disabilities.
  •     Integrated Resource Team (IRT) coordination of services to meet the multiple needs of a job seeker with a disability.
  •     Integrating Resources & Services/Blending & Braiding funds by utilizing funds from multiple sources to contribute to individual employment goals.
  •     Partnerships and Collaborations that impact the ability of people with disabilities to participate in education, training and employment opportunities.
  •     Asset Development to represent various approaches to enhance long-term economic self-sufficiency.

As a required component of the DEI, the Madera County Workforce Assistance Center is also participating in Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program and has become an approved Employment Network (EN) Provider. The Ticket to Work program is designed to assist Social Security beneficiaries receiving SSI or SSDI return to work.  Beneficiaries have the ability to assign their ticket to an EN, of their choice, for assistance in achieving their desired employment goal.


“After suffering a work related disability that impacted my ability to return to my career field the DEI program has been there to help. Through their support I was able to obtain the computer software I needed to complete my retraining program and they continue to support me in my efforts to set up my own business and be self-supportive.”