In conjunction with the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and other agencies that assist disabled members of communities across Maryland, the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp. (AAWDC) is expanding the services provided to individuals with severe disabilities through a Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL). The partners of the DEI grant will work together to provide resources, training and employment support to individuals with severe disabilities.

To help increase the employment opportunities for participants, AAWDC will utilize occupational training, along with internship and work and learn opportunities, to ensure participants gain the skills and hands-on experience businesses are looking for. Customized employment also will be a key component in the new initiative.

Customized employment opportunities are developed in partnership with businesses to ensure the best possible success for the new employee and the business. Customized employments look at the skills needed to do the job and determine what specialized equipment would be needed, or what functions could be moved to another position within the business.

DEI is a national initiative by the DoL and this is the first time it has come to Maryland. Maryland’s DEI initiative is currently in the planning stages, with recruitment and services starting in the spring.