November 4, 2015 - (Denver) – Colorado’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has been selected to participate in the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP), which offers focused technical assistance and collaboration aimed at improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
EFSLMP is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
Colorado will be one of 18 “core states” and the District of Columbia that will receive funding to assist in the creation of a strategic plan. When implemented, this plan aims to provide innovative solutions to a longstanding national problem.
Other EFSLMP participants include Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Utah, along with the District of Columbia.
The program not only will provide funding, but customized, on-site advice from subject-matter experts offering information and resources to help each state achieve its goals. Equally important, states will work together to share their successes and promote best practices via regular teleconference calls and webinars.
"An important priority for Gov. Hickenlooper is to capitalize on the talents of disabled Coloradans and encourage Colorado workplaces to be more inclusive," said Reggie Bicha, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services. "The selection of Colorado for this prestigious federal initiative will serve to further that effort."
The employment picture for people with disabilities is challenging. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that half of all persons with a disability who were not employed reported some type of barrier to finding work. Lack of education or training, lack of transportation, and the need for special features on the job were among the barriers that this program is designed to start removing.
“It’s a critical priority for all states,” Department of Labor and Employment Executive Director Ellen Golombek said.
“Ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of people with disabilities is more than doing the right thing. Inclusion is doing the smart thing. It builds a stronger Colorado, and we’re excited to be a part of this national effort.”