The U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration invites applications for the Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment  demonstration project, aimed at increasing access for people with disabilities to jobs that pay good wages.

The SWTCIE project is the largest discretionary grant administered by RSA, with $167 million available to State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and their partners.

“Economic security should be available to all Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Providing individuals with disabilities with a high-quality education and the services that they need to thrive will result in real pay for real jobs, empowering them and leading to greater social and economic inclusion.”

SWTCIE is a step toward ending practices that have allowed some employers to pay less than the federal minimum wage to people with disabilities. The new grant program will sponsor innovative approaches that allow people with disabilities to successfully secure jobs working alongside their nondisabled peers while earning the same pay.

To help eliminate subminimum wage employment, this competition will award grants to as many as 18 State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and their partners that will create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The jobs will be in critical need areas, including home and community-based services, the arts, or transportation and related industries. In addition, applicants may submit proposals in other areas that will transition individuals from subminimum wage employment to competitive integrated employment.

This funding opportunity aligns existing and emerging employment opportunities with the needs of employers and the public infrastructure. Most notably, activities will ensure people with disabilities are earning real pay for real jobs.

The department’s Rehabilitation Services Administration web page provides additional information about vocational rehabilitation opportunities for people with disabilities.

The notice inviting applications is available for public inspection at the Federal Register. The Federal Register will publish the official version of the notice March 21.  The deadline for submissions is June 21.