The federal government is offering up millions of dollars for states to develop initiatives designed to increase employment of people with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Labor said this week that state workforce agencies can apply for a share of $15 million in grants to develop “flexible and innovative strategies” to help this population bolster their prospects on the job market.

“People with disabilities have enormous contributions to make to our economy, and they are still disproportionately represented among the unemployed,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. “These grants will help ensure that these workers have better access to training programs that lead to good jobs and economic self-sufficiency.”

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Labor Department officials said they are accepting applications through July 8 and expect to award eight grants ranging from $1.5 to $2.5 million for use over a 42-month period.

The agency is looking to allocate funds toward at least one project targeting each of three groups within the disability community — adults ages 18 and over, youth ages 14 to 24 and individuals ages 14 and older with significant disabilities.

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