US Department of Education funds $199 Million to Boost Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

The US Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has announced the allocation of over $199 million in funding for 20 model demonstration projects focused on enhancing economic self-sufficiency for children and youth with disabilities.

These projects aim to create systemic approaches geared towards improving outcomes after school, which will enable them to transition seamlessly into life after high school.

Pathways to Partnership: A Discretionary Grant aimed at furthering economic self-sufficiency

Pathways to Partnership is a project that is focused on supporting collaborative partnerships between vocational rehabilitation agencies, state and local educational agencies, and federally funded centers for independent living to help individuals with disabilities to bridge gaps from school to adult life, prepare them for independent living, competitive integrated employment and community integration.

The funding provided for this project is the largest discretionary grant ever administered by RSA, as a part of the Disability Innovation Fund program aimed at increasing economic self-sufficiency for youth and other individuals with disabilities.

The Need for Pathways to Partnerships

The “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” initiative, which is a key component for the Department’s decision to fund this project. The initiative is aimed at supporting individuals from underserved communities, ensuring that every student has a pathway to college, a career, and improving transition services for students with disabilities.

The objective is to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities by finding innovative ways of working together while looking to unlock post-school and career success for those individuals.

Full Funding for Successful Applicants

The Department awarded full funding for a five-year project period to recipients of the Pathways to Partnership grant. Which means they will receive all project funds at the beginning of year one.

Through this five-year project period, award recipients will pilot, refine and implement their proposed projects while also collecting and analyzing project data.

Recipient Agencies and their Funding Levels

The Pathways to Partnership innovative model demonstration project has allocated funding to the following agencies:

StateAgencyFunding Level
AlaskaAlaska Department of Education and Early Development$10,000,000
ArkansasArkansas Department of Education/Division of Elementary and Secondary Education$9,913,236
ColoradoColorado Labor & Employment, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation$14,116,234.89
ConnecticutConnecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services/Bureau of Rehabilitation Services$10,000,000
GeorgiaGeorgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency$10,588,912
IdahoIdaho State Department of Education/Special Education$9,798,372.94
IllinoisIllinois Department of Human Services/Division of Rehabilitation Services$10,000,000
KansasKansas Department of Education/Division of Learning Services$8,442,103
KentuckyKentucky Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Early Learning$9,942,934
LouisianaLouisiana Department of Education$10,000,000
MaineMaine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation$7,632,256
MarylandMaryland State Department of Education/Rehabilitation Services$9,989,423
New JerseyNew Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education$8,667,855
New MexicoNew Mexico Public Education Department, Office of Inclusive Education$9,943,500
NevadaNevada Department of Education/Office of Inclusive Education$9,964,894.81
OklahomaOklahoma State Department of Education$9,992,898
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry/Office of Vocational Rehabilitation$9,990,688.97
South CarolinaSouth Carolina Department of Education$9,992,013
VermontVermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living/Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired$10,000,000
WyomingWyoming Division of Vocational Rehabilitation$10,000,000


The Pathways to Partnership project is a positive initiative aimed at empowering young individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independence, and career success. The allocation of this significant grant will also require state and local agencies to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities by finding innovative ways of working together.


Liam Noah

Liam Noah, a passionate writer at Degree Tribe, specializes in crafting insightful content about educational degrees. With a knack for simplifying complex information, Liam helps readers navigate the world of higher education. His articles are a valuable resource for those seeking guidance on academic pursuits.

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