Federal officials are offering up big money in a bid to help young people with disabilities move more successfully from school to work.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration said that $224 million in grants is available for innovative demonstration projects “focused on the creation of systemic approaches to improve access to pre-employment transition services for children and youth with disabilities.”

The projects should offer a seamless array of transition services focused on career exploration with a goal of competitive integrated employment and feature opportunities like internships and apprenticeships, officials said. They should be a collaboration between state vocational rehabilitation agencies, state education agencies, local school districts and centers for independent living, but can also include other partners like regional employers, chambers of commerce and institutions of higher education.

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“As children and youth with disabilities move through the school system, many do not have exposure to self-advocacy training, careers and independent living opportunities,” reads an Education Department notice to stakeholders. “This historical funding opportunity advances a key goal of the Biden-Harris administration to pave a clear and robust path to independent living and competitive integrated employment as children and youth with disabilities transition from high school to postsecondary endeavors.”

The funding, which is available through the Disability Innovation Fund Pathways to Partnerships Innovative Model Demonstration Project, is intended to support multiple projects.

State vocational rehabilitation agencies and state education agencies have until June 5 to apply for the grants.

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