Apprenticeships the Focus of New CSG Report, Upcoming Zoom Event

By Sean Slone

Despite some obstacles early on in the pandemic, apprenticeship programs appear to have a bright future with states exploring a variety of strategies to strengthen an important career pathway for all, including individuals with disabilities. While apprenticeships have traditionally been limited to industries like construction, manufacturing and transportation, that is starting to change with states and employers offering opportunities in fields like state government, health care, information technology, and cybersecurity.

That is one of the conclusions of a new report from The Council of State Governments and the State Exchange on Employment & Disability titled, “The Future of Apprenticeship: Inclusion, Expansion, and the Post-Pandemic World of Work.”

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North Dakota, South Dakota join forces to help disabled children; Wisconsin receives stand-alone grant

By Tim Anderson

Through a partnership with the federal government, and with each other in some cases, three states in the Midwest have launched initiatives to improve the educational and employment outcomes of young people with disabilities. These programs will establish new interventions for youths receiving Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.

North Dakota and South Dakota are part of a six-state consortium that received a U.S. Department of Education grant of $32.5 million. Those six states will enroll 2,000 low- income individuals between the ages of 14 and 16. Recruitment efforts will focus in part on rural and tribal areas. Enrollees will receive benefits counseling, financial training, work-based learning experiences and other intervention services. Wisconsin has received a stand-alone federal grant of $32.5 million.

One goal of these new programs is to reduce recipients’ long-term reliance on SSI. In the Midwest, SSI beneficiaries with disabilities account for between 2.5 percent of the state population (in Michigan, highest rate in the region) and 1.1 percent (North Dakota, lowest rate in the Midwest). The U.S. average is 2.2 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. With the exception of Michigan and Ohio, states in the region fall below the U.S. rate.

Stateline Midwest February 2014