February 8, 2012
Contact: Melissa Loe
Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
Senators Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) announced that the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities awarded $225,000 for the first year of a grant to demonstrate how individuals with severe developmental disabilities can succeed in college and obtain jobs. The five-year grant to the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services will work with individuals in Hidalgo County who are 18-25 years old to help them attend South Texas College and become employed.
“This project will provide a wrap-around approach to services that is unprecedented in Hidalgo County,” Lucio explained. “It will include real-world work experiences such as job shadowing and on-the-job-training. It will also work with local businesses to mentor and support the students with the educational process and work experience.”
“Project HIRE — Helping Individuals Reach Employment — is an innovative program through the Division for Rehabilitation Services at DARS,” Hinojosa said. It will provide focused, one-on-one supports such as educational coaches, individual and family support, and both college and employment readiness.”
TCDD is a 27-member board, dedicated to improving the lives of more than 450,000 Texans with developmental disabilities. The council uses a variety of activities — such as grant projects, technical assistance, public awareness and leadership training — to enable people with disabilities to live, grow up, attend school and work in the community. Developmental disabilities are severe, chronic disabilities that occur before the age of 22, such as autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness, traumatic brain injury and epilepsy.