(DENVER) — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and its Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) announced today that the Division was awarded $14 million as part of the Disability Innovation Fund (DIF): Pathways to Partnerships Innovative Model Demonstration Project.
With the $14,116,234.89 awarded, DVR will expand access to transition services and enhance partnerships among vocational rehabilitation, centers for independent living, secondary education and local community partners through turnover-resistant tactics over the span of five years.
“Since the beginning of my career in Vocational Rehabilitation over four decades ago, many more programs to support Coloradans with disabilities to gain and keep employment have emerged,” said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera. “I am excited for Colorado’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to receive this $14 Million from the Disability Innovation Fund to continue this great work, but even more importantly to bring together the organizations currently serving people with disabilities to allow them to work together more cohesively and collaboratively.”
DVR’s Innovative Model Demonstration Project sets out to accomplish this by hiring a dedicated DVR Counselor housed full-time in select local school districts; partnering with Centers for Independent Living; providing training directly to family members of students with disabilities in the district or Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) to support students’ success in achieving positive post-school outcomes; and by launching an online platform, called Map My Transition, that will connect children and youth with disabilities to support systems, service providers and transition programming specific to their local region. Through strong turnover-resistant partnerships across the entire state of Colorado, Map My Transition will remove the reliance on meetings and individual relationships and the difficulty of identifying new service providers by driving an increased engagement in transition services and knowledge transfer of best practices.
“We are thrilled the US Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration has awarded Colorado this significant grant to create innovative services while growing and strengthening strategic partnerships across agencies that will ultimately improve the lives of young Coloradans with disabilities,” said DVR Division Director Kristin Corash. “These funds will allow us to continue increasing the number of youth we serve each year with personalized resources via an innovative and accessible online platform.”
This grant announcement comes as the State celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month throughout October. To learn more, please visit dvr.colorado.gov.
About the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) provides people with disabilities with a wide range of individualized employment services based on their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and interests. Services include education, disability benefits planning, vocational training, job placement, on-the-job support, and more. DVR also helps employers recruit and hire workers with disabilities. The division administers state and federal grants for the Office of Employment First (OEF), the Centers for Independent Living (CIL), the Business Enterprise Program (BEP), and Older Individuals Who Are Blind (OIB). The division is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and federal and local government funds.