STATEHOUSE – Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch Thursday announced 12 communities that have partnered with non-profits will receive more than $1.58 million in federal funding through Round 2 of the Community Connections for People with Disabilities grant program. CCPWD is offered through a partnership between the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS).
“Hoosiers once again are working together to ensure all people are included as Indiana pushes forward,” Crouch said. “Through this collaborative grant program, individuals with disabilities are receiving critical support to promote their everyday lives. The technology and resources being made available with these funds will further boost social, economic and health aspects by keeping these individuals connected to their support networks.”
The program aims to help develop innovative technology strategies and cultivate strong community partnerships to address the negative social, economic and health effects of COVID-19 on Hoosiers with disabilities. Additionally, the goal of CCPWD is to increase community and workplace inclusion for this population.
“These projects are providing important technology resources for Hoosiers with disabilities during a time where we have had to go virtual in many aspects of our lives,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “Even as we work to get back to normal, the assistance these projects will create will have a long-lasting positive impact on communities and help ensure no Hoosier is left isolated.”
Round 2 of this program will implement strategies, including virtual or technology-assisted activities, to address social isolation and lost access to natural supports, or the loss of employment and training opportunities due to COVID-19. This round also addresses the changing realities of the COVID-19 public health emergency by targeting activities designed to assist Hoosier adults with disabilities in preparing for a return to in-person interactions in the workplace and community.
“We are so excited that this Round 2 funding means 12 additional communities will be working with their local disability organizations to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on Hoosier adults with disabilities,” said DDRS Director Kim Opsahl. “These funds will help communities re-engage Hoosier adults with disabilities in services, employment and community inclusion efforts.”
The following applicants will receive funding for this round:
- The City of Angola, in partnership with EasterSeals RISE, is awarded $195,585 to create a virtual Employment Readiness Academy to provide employment skills development to participants. Virtual employment activities will utilize 35-unit tablet lending library. The city will also install virtual meeting and videoconferencing technology in City Hall and Angola Training Center to enhance ability of participants to engage in community training and local government processes.
- The City of Auburn, in partnership with EasterSeals RISE, is awarded $174,870 to create virtual employment and training programs, utilizing a device lending library of 100 tablets and 100 MiFi devices. The city will also establish a virtual Employment Readiness Academy to provide employment skills development to participants and virtual Job Clubs to connect participants to potential employers.
- The City of Lebanon, in partnership with ARC Greater Boone County, is awarded $25,648 to create virtual learning and networking content, including videos, discussion groups and classes. This includes the creation of a device lending library and a device access training program.
- The City of Noblesville, in partnership with Janus Developmental Services, is awarded $193,067 to create a multi-prong outreach, training and community access strategy. The city will offer sensory-friendly community activities. Janus will develop a virtual version of workforce training programs and employment training videos. Partners will leverage a device lending library of 24 Chromebooks and 24 Hotspot devices to deliver grant activities.
- The City of Vincennes, in partnership with the YMCA Betty J McCormick, is awarded $200,000 to create virtual and hybrid social inclusion activities focusing on health and wellness. This includes activities such as sensory biking trail, virtual grocery shopping assistance, online wellness classes, exercise classes, drum classes, etc. The city will utilize 30-unit device lending library to facilitate grant activities.
- The City of Westfield, in partnership with Westfield Washington Schools, is awarded $53,255 to expand virtual and in-person employment training, and school-to-work transition activities. The city will increase the number of job coaches available to students and purchase interactive video panels to enhance transition program curriculum.
- Fountain County, in partnership with Child-Adult Resource Services, is awarded $55,500 to develop online zoom classes on a wide range of topics, including music, art, employment skills, social hour, self-care, cooking, advocacy, health and wellness, leisure and hobby exploration, technology skills, fitness, finance, and home care. Funds will be used to hire program specialist to coordinate the delivery of classes and purchase a 10-unit device lending library.
- Hendricks County, in partnership with Sycamore Services, is awarded $112,763 to create a device lending library to facility access to a virtual suite of services. Services can include exercise and recreational therapy, career counseling, employment preparation, health, and wellness.
- Huntington County, in partnership with Pathfinder Services, is awarded $156,464 to create a multi-prong hybrid employment and training program. The program will include mentorship opportunities, work experiences, job site tours, a device lending library and the purchase of barcode scanner technology for participant training purposes.
- Knox County, in partnership with Knox County ARC, is awarded $146,300 to create a new outreach and basic employment services program, connecting previously unreached individuals with disabilities to employment and training opportunities. The county will purchase smart boards, projectors, VR devices and tablets to facilitate project activities.
- Noble County, in partnership with ARC Noble County, is awarded $68,381 to create a new video series titled “Discover Your Path in Our Community,” which allows for virtual exploration of jobs located in Noble County, tailored to individuals with disabilities as the target audience.
- St. Joseph County, in partnership with LOGAN Community Resources, is awarded $200,000 to develop a community employment initiative with the local South Bend airport. Funds will be used for staff support. The county will create a device lending library and purchase smartboards to facilitate virtual reconnection with the community and natural support networks.
Eligible applicants included local units of government, such as counties, cities, or incorporated towns, both entitlement and non-entitlement communities. Each applicant partnered with a qualifying non-profit community disability organization that serves adults with disabilities within the geographical area.
According to Crouch, the state has now awarded 23 grants to Hoosier communities through this program, totaling more than $3.2 million. To learn more about the 11 grants awarded earlier this year, click here.
This grant opportunity is made available through supplemental Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds authorized under the CARES Act. For more information, visit in.gov/fssa/ddrs/community-connections-for-people-with-disabilities.