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State to invest $11M to expand job opportunities for workers with disabilities 

Gov. Kathy Hochul said the new funding will

Gov. Kathy Hochul said the new funding will help insure that all New Yorkers are supported. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The state plans to invest $11.1 million in federal funds to improve employment opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities, officials said Thursday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state will expand an existing network of Disability Resource Coordinators, now in place in about 15 of the state's workforce development zones, to all 33 zones by 2025.

Disability Resource Coordinators are tasked with growing enrollment of adults and youths with disabilities in the state’s "Career Center" system, expanding partnerships with local employers, and placing jobseekers with disabilities "in competitive, integrated employment."

Long Island has two Disability Resource Coordinators, one working out of the Suffolk County Department of Labor's office in Hauppauge, and the other at the Hempstead Works Career Center.

"An important component to our post-pandemic recovery is to ensure workers of every background have job opportunities," Hochul said in a statement. "I want New York to be a state of opportunity and hope for people of every walk of life, and that means we must continue to increase support for individuals with disabilities."

The governor’s announcement comes during national Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The funds are part of a new three-year pilot program, named the New York Systems Change and Inclusive Opportunities Network, that the state said will help serve 45,000 more adults and children with disabilities than are aided through current services.

The federal dollars come as previous grants from the federal Disability Employment Initiative – which helped more than 31,000 individuals over the past 11 years – are set to phase out.

The pilot program will also scale up previous initiatives, including career expos, career readiness education, and financial literacy training.

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