The Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) seeks to improve education, training, and employment opportunities and outcomes of youth and adults who are unemployed, underemployed, and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. DEI projects improve collaboration among employment and training and asset development programs implemented at state and local levels, including the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Program, and build effective partnerships that leverage resources to better serve individuals with disabilities.
The DEI focus on cross agency collaboration, Integrated Resource Team, and blending and braiding of resources strategies that support comprehensive integrated and streamlined services represents core principles of the Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed into law in July 2014. DEI Round V and VI grants are further aligned with WIOA by their focus on career pathway systems and programs that include adults and youth with disabilities and expand their educational, workplace learning and advancement opportunities.
DEI is jointly funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration and the Office of Disability Employment Policy. Since 2010, the Department of Labor has awarded over $95 million in grants to 37 state workforce agencies in 26 states through the initiative.