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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), this national campaign raises awareness about the benefits of employing people with disabilities and celebrates their many and varied contributions. This year the theme is The Right Talent, Right Now, which emphasizes the essential role people with disabilities play in America’s economic success, especially in an era when historically low unemployment and global competition are creating a high demand for skilled talent.

The reality is that many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a difficult time finding competitive integrated employment. The Right Talent, Right Now campaign is an opportunity to highlight the fact that a talented workforce is developed through many different ways. Innovation in employment, apprenticeship programs and appropriate employment supports are just a few ways to facilitate getting the right people in the right roles. Apprenticeships internships can be valuable tools as they facilitate placement of skilled employees, which in turn reduces turn over and increases productivity.

A Paid Internship Program (PIP) is available to job seekers served by Tri-Counties Regional Center who want to work full or part-time, become self-employed, start a small business or develop skills as an apprentice. Students may be eligible if they are age 18 or over. The program funds up to $10,400 per internship for wages and employer costs. The intent of the program is to increase opportunities for Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE).

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