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May 1, 2024

Central Mass. organizations receive $458K to train disabled workforce

A woman stands in front of a podium Image | Courtesy of State House News Service Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey

Four Central Massachusetts organizations working to afford individuals with disabilities job training, workforce placement, and post-placement support are amongst nine awardees statewide receiving $900,000 in grants from the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. 

The four Central Massachusetts organizations received a combined $458,000 in grants, according to a Tuesday press release from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Employment Options of Marlborough received $175,000 to fund training and placement of 30 individuals in food service jobs.

The Polus Center for Social & Economic Development, based in Athol, was granted $140,000 to provide 25 individuals with a five-week retail skills training program followed by four weeks of on-site paid work with a participating grocery industry partners.

Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District of Fitchburg was awarded $133,000 to develop a 14-week occupational skills training program to help prepare 15 young adults with disabilities, specifically those with autism and Down syndrome, to enter the workforce. The technical school is the second largest regional school district in Massachusetts, according to the school’s website, with more than 1,400 students from 18 cities and towns. 

The Center of Hope Foundation in Southbridge received $10,000 to help fund its employment services program for businesses, agencies, and organizations to amalgamate about 130 individuals with disabilities into the workforce while assisting participating individuals in finding, maintaining, and succeeding in those positions. 

The state agency is operating a People with Disabilities Workforce Data Dashboard, a compilation of employment-related disparity insights including data pertaining to disability type, geographic variations, remote work opportunities, unemployment rates, labor force participation.

“It's imperative that we recognize the diverse talents and contributions of individuals with disabilities,” Gov. Maura Healey said in the release. “This dashboard not only sheds light on existing barriers but also highlights the immense potential of this segment of our workforce.” 

The grants will support 275 young adults throughout the state.

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