US Department of Labor’s ‘Add Us In’ initiative to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities

WASHINGTON — As part of its "Add Us In" initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy awarded four two-year cooperative agreements totaling more than $2.4 million to consortia led by the University of Missouri-Kansas City in Kansas City, Mo.; Community Partners-Integrated Recovery Network in Los Angeles, Calif.; The Workplace Inc. in Bridgeport, Conn.; and the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.

The consortia will create replicable models and strategies that can be used nationwide by businesses and employers to reach out to people with disabilities in their communities, build a national and local network of experts skilled in serving a diversity of individuals with disabilities, and improve employment opportunities and outcomes for diverse people with disabilities. According to recent data from the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of August 2010, the percentage of individuals with disabilities participating in the labor force was 22.0 percent compared with 70.2 percent for individuals with no disability. About one in five people with disabilities is in the labor force, and the unemployment rate for those with disabilities remains much higher than the national average.

"This administration is committed to expanding job opportunities for all Americans, including individuals with disabilities," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Add Us In will expand opportunities for workers with disabilities and help ensure that everyone who wants to work can find a good job."

More than 10 million Americans who are members of ethnic and racial minority groups have long-lasting disabling conditions or impairments. When looking at the relationship between disability and employment, researchers have found that individuals with disabilities from these groups are often at increased risk for unemployment. Add Us In is an important step toward integrating disability and diversity into employers' workforce planning and addressing employment disparities for people with disabilities.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez noted, "It is quite appropriate for the Add Us In grants to be awarded on the eve of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. We look forward to the Add Us In consortia improving the ability of businesses to employ individuals with disabilities and serving as examples of success during NDEAM for many years to come."

The Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy provides national leadership on disability employment policy by developing and influencing the use of evidence-based disability employment policies and practices, building collaborative partnerships, and delivering authoritative and credible data on employment of people with disabilities.

To learn more about the Add Us In initiative, visit

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