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Department of Labor Selects 10 States, District of Columbia for National Effort to Expand Employment Opportunities, Outcomes for People with Disabilities

February 3, 2023
Source: U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced its selection of 10 states and the District of Columbia to participate as “core states” in its National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network [NEON] initiative.

The selection will help connect government agencies in California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee to consulting, capacity building support and ongoing mentoring as they seek to increase Competitive Integrated Employment [CIE] for individuals with disabilities in their areas.

Until now, NEON has focused primarily on advancing CIE by offering national provider organizations technical assistance from recognized subject matter experts and support for local provider organizations. By expanding participation to core states, NEON seeks to focus on promoting positive changes in state-level policies and systems. The department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has administered NEON since its 2019 launch.

In January 2022, NEON released the National Plan to Increase Competitive Integrated Employment in concert with five national provider organizations: ACCSESANCORThe Arc, the Association of People Supporting Employment First and SourceAmerica.

“The addition of 10 core states and the District of Columbia to the National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network will help support policymaking and other efforts to make Competitive Integrated Employment a reality for more people with disabilities,” said Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn Williams. “Now, effective practices used by service providers can support strategies such as blending, braiding and sequencing of funding, strategic planning, benefits counseling, and effective data collection and analysis to promote greater workplace equity.”

ODEP has contracted with Economic Systems Inc. of Falls Church, Virginia, to manage, support and coordinate the NEON initiative.

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