(DENVER) — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) announced today that the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s Office of Independent Living Services was awarded a $3 million, five year grant. The grant is part of the Interagency Cooperative Action Network (ICAN) and funded through the Social Security Administration. Its goals are focused on promoting self-sufficiency by helping individuals with disabilities — including youth — enter, stay in, or return to the labor force; assisting claimants apply for and appeal Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits; and ensuring high-quality of life for people with disabilities including those in underserved communities.
People with disabilities experience higher rates of poverty, unemployment, underemployment, and experience social isolation more than any other group. African Americans and Hispanic or Latin(x) individuals typically experience disability at higher rates (National Council on Disabilities, 2022). The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) (Donato, & Shapiro, 2018) reported that minorities with disabilities experience a “double burden” — health and social challenges due to the intersectionality of race and ethnicity with having a disability.
“This is an important grant that will continue to allow Colorado to reduce the prosperity gap of people with disabilities and focus on underserved populations,” said Kristin Corash, Director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. “We believe that people with disabilities who want to work, can work. Helping people with disabilities understand the role disability benefits play in employment can’t be overstated.”
The Office of Independent Living Services is looking for representation to join the Interagency Cooperative Agreement Network (ICAN) Planning and Advisory Team. It’s seeking interested organizations and individuals who serve and represent minority and underserved populations as well as businesses interested in hiring qualified individuals. Those interested are encouraged to contact Sarah Hansen with the Office of Independent Living Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.