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Disability Innovation Fund - Pathways to Partnerships

Assistance Listing Number: 84.421E
Program Type: Discretionary Grants

Program Description 

The purpose of the Disability Innovation Fund (DIF) Program, as provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (Pub. L. 117-103), is to support innovative (as defined in the notice) activities aimed at increasing competitive integrated employment (CIE) as defined in section 7 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act) (29 U.S.C. 705(5)), for youth and other individuals with disabilities. 

Consistent with this purpose, the Department published a Notice Inviting Applications in the Federal Register on April 5, 2023, inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2023 for the Disability Innovation Fund: Pathways to Partnerships Innovative Model Demonstration Project, Assistance Listing Number 84.421E. 

The Department intends to fund multiple innovative model demonstration projects focused on the creation of systemic approaches to transition services for children and youth with disabilities (as defined in this notice).  Ensuring that key agents of change and required partners (State vocational rehabilitation agencies (SVRAs), State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and federally funded Centers for Independent Living (CILs)) are actively collaborating to support coordinated transition processes is critical to the success of children and youth with disabilities.  This notice relates to the approved information collection under OMB control number 1894-0006: Applications for New Grants under RSA. 

The purpose of this competition is to support projects that foster the establishment of close ties among agencies, transforming collaboration into partnership.  Project partnerships are comprised of, at a minimum, each of the following entities:  SVRAs, SEAs, LEAs, CILs and demonstrating how services might be improved in the field, by developing and piloting a cohesive service delivery model that better manages its unique resources while coordinating efforts to improve outcomes for children and youth with disabilities and their support systems and facilitate successful transitions. 

To achieve this purpose, projects funded under this priority will:

  • Develop an innovative model of collaboration and partnerships, with coordination of funding from, and a seamless system of services provided by, the required partners (SVRAs, SEAs, LEAs, and CILs). 
  • Include innovative approach to the provision of seamless transition services focused on career exploration, CIE aspiration, and achievement of CIE for children and youth with disabilities, leveraging the expertise of the required partners to increase the success of the transition process. 
  • Include an evaluation of the training provided to— youth service professionals who are implementing the innovative model, including but not limited to service providers, aides, other professionals who provide, for example, skills training, professional development, and cross-agency training; children and youth with disabilities (i.e., in soft skills training, career exploration training, and job readiness training); and support systems of children and youth with disabilities (i.e., in advocacy, financial planning, and transition planning). 
  • Promote opportunities for career exposure for youth such as internships and apprenticeships.  To promote transparency and provide tools for sharing best practices, the project also must establish a project-specific website  geared toward actionable items, such as information that is for the youth service professional (i.e., program descriptions and information, resources, online training opportunities, etc.) or project participant resources for children and youth with disabilities (i.e., interest inventories, career exploration including virtual employer tours, job duties, educational courses that support specific careers, resources for transitioning from middle to high school or high school to post-secondary education or employment). 
  • Include resources, as they are being developed that would allow for the replication of certain aspects of the project throughout the life of the project. 
  • Develop collaborations into partnerships that leverage resources to implement a cohesive service delivery model that supports successful postsecondary experiences for children and youth with disabilities and their support systems. 


SVRAs and SEAs may apply.