In an effort to help more people with disabilities land jobs, officials at the U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday that states can compete for a share of roughly $20 million in new federal funds.

The money, which will be doled out in chunks of $1.5 to $6 million over the course of three years, is intended to be used for state programs that boost education, training and job opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities.

This is the second round of federal money in recent times designed to bolster work opportunities for this population. In September 2010, the Labor Department issued similar grants to Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. Now, other states are eligible to submit grants for the employment initiative.

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“Workers with disabilities suffer from one of the lowest employment rates of any group in the American population, even in times of prosperity,” Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in announcing the new funds. “It is vital that state and local agencies work together with private sector partners to improve these statistics.”