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Maine Department of Labor




54 State House Station

Augusta, ME 04333






24 months



POPULATION SERVED: Jobseekers with physical or psychological disabilities.



BRIEF DESCRIPTION: The grant will be used to fund salaries, fringe benefits, travel, supplies, subcontracts, rent, an assistive technology (AT) fund, and indirect costs. Positions funded include two full-time program navigators, an assistant, and a part-time project lead.


Research shows that many with disabilities are unaware of CC services, or believe that the services are not accessible to them. The proposed program navigators whose services would be new to the state -- will conduct outreach to, and coordinate with, community service providers who work with the disabled.


According to the 2000 Census, 258,000 citizens of Maine (nearly 20%) are disabled. In addition, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services currently provides statewide vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to 6,500, and approximately 1,435 are waiting for services. Unemployment ranges from 3% in the southern part of the state to 11% in its northeastern region. Statistics show that 165,120 are disabled and are unemployed or underemployed.


AbleME is a statewide initiative that includes the Maine Jobs Council, all 23 One-Stop career centers (CCs), and the states four local Workforce Investment Boards. The goals of AbleME are to improve the career center system for disabled jobseekers; improve access to career center services; facilitate coordination and collaboration of the various providers; and improve employment outcomes for the disabled.


Strategies include: implementation of program navigator strategies; increase in outreach and marketing to the disabled; increase in outreach to businesses; increase in the capacity of non-VR staff to more effectively serve disabled customers; and replacement of outdated AT. AbleME will also seek to better inform disabled customers about employment and benefits.


With the proposed funding, plans include staff training and development; the integration of existing benefits specialists into the career care system; assessment, upgrade, and implementation of AT; the assessment and improvement of physical accommodation at CCs; and linkage of transportation initiatives to CCs.







Larinda Meade