Posted: 05/12/2021 11:38:16 AM
BOSTON – With $ 17 million from the federal government, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission plans to reinvent the way it tries to connect people with disabilities with job skills and employment opportunities.
The MRC said that the innovation grant it received from the Rehabilitation Services Administration will enable it to “implement a new approach to vocational rehabilitation that will help young people develop the skills they need to ensure the ‘access to fair, accessible and inclusive employment opportunities after high school’.
Over the past year, the MRC has partnered with community colleges and network technology company CISCO on a program through which people who receive services through the MRC can be trained for jobs. in the growing areas of cybersecurity and obtain a certificate from CISCO. The agency also worked with Springfield-based Viability to launch a virtual reality program that helps people learn interactive âsoft skillsâ essential for employment.
âThe Authority recognizes the need for transformative and supportive efforts for people with disabilities to achieve their employment goals. With this new funding, the MRC will strengthen traditional systems and provide innovative employment services to our most vulnerable residents, âsaid Health and Social Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.
In 2019, about 80% of people without disabilities in Massachusetts were employed, while only 38.2% of people with disabilities were employed, according to the WorkAbility subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and People with Disabilities in a report released earlier this year.