WASHINGTON — The United States Department of Labor on Tuesday lent an extra hand to help workers with disabilities in Hawai‘i to better integrate into the workforce.
As a portion of a DOL $21.1 million grant, Hawai‘i will receive $2.9 million to expand services at two one-stop career centers that provide education, training, and employment opportunities for unemployed adults with disabilities, states a joint press release from Hawai‘i’s four federal representatives.
“In Hawai‘i, people with disabilities face an unemployment rate that’s nearly seventy percent higher than the national average,” said Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai‘i, a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee.
Hawai‘i was one of seven states to receive funding under the Disability Employment Initiative. Sixteen states have been selected this year for grant awards under the initiative.
“These federal funds will enable the state to help more disabled Hawai‘i residents train for and find jobs, improving their quality of life and contributing to our economy,” Sen. Akaka, D-Hawai‘i, said.
The Hawai‘i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will use the money to expand the disability services offered at two of the states’ 13 One-Stop Centers located on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui and Big Island.
“I am pleased the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded these grants to expand disability services at One-Stop Centers throughout the state,” said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawai‘i.
The centers provide free services to job seekers and employers, including job search assistance, personal career planning services, training opportunities, HireNet Hawai‘i support and a library resource center
The funds will help the state design programs and workshops that encourage employers to hire workers with disabilities while also preparing the worker for the responsibilities of full-time employment.
The money will also help with the hiring of new staff members.
“These funds will help the state partner with employers and work with job seekers to ensure that our workers with disabilities have a productive place in our workforce,” Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawai‘i, said.
The DEI aims to improve education, training and employment opportunities and outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities who are unemployed, underemployed and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Visit www.dol.gov or www.hawaii.gov for more information.