The California Employment Development Department announced on Tuesday it has awarded $250,000 in Disability Employment Accelerator funds to the Workforce Investment Board, WIB, of Tulare County for its Access to Careers and Employment, ACE, partnership that provides career development and job opportunities for people with disabilities. 

These funds will help workers secure quality jobs in the post-pandemic labor market,” said EDD Director Rita Saenz. 

The ACE project will address the high level of unemployment and poverty faced by people with disabilities in Tulare County and ultimately lead participants into career pathways with lasting employment. An Integrated Resource Team comprising the local partners will work to help those with disabilities find employment. 

The ACE project will provide employment and training services, while emphasizing the use of distance learning and other technology-based methods to deliver services. This approach will help participants develop technology-based skills, which have proven crucial during the COVID-19 crisis, while protecting their health and safety as they receive program benefits.

Using strategies to target Tulare County’s high-demand industry sectors, partners will work with local businesses and industry leaders to develop work-based learning programs to help people with disabilities obtain employment. 

In order for the local economy to thrive, we need to ensure that every worker has a path to good jobs in key industries,” said WIB Executive Director Adam Peck. 

From April 2018 – March 2021, WIB received similar funding to launch the Access to Careers and Employment project. To date, the ACE project has helped 41 people with disabilities with job training including on-the-job training, the completion of Associate Degrees and assistance in finding unsubsidized employment. 

The ACE project is a multi-agency collaborative effort which includes the following Tulare County partner organizations: College of the Sequoias Access & Ability Center, WorkAbility III Program; Porterville College Disability Resource Center; Visalia Adult School; Tulare Adult School; Tulare County Office of Education – A Ticket to Success; Department of Rehabilitation – San Joaquin Valley District. 

Tulare/Kern/Inyo/Mono Cluster of the Employment Development Department; Tulare-Kings Healthcare Partnership; South Valley Industrial Collaborative; Community Services Employment Training (CSET); Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County. 

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