Senator Lucio's Letterhead

PRESS RELEASE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 22, 2007
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez, Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385

Senator Lucio and Senator Zaffirini Announce $125,000 Grant to Increase Employment Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

AUSTIN, TX -- Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Sen. Judith Zaffirini today announced the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities awarded a grant of $125,000 to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Workforce Development Board (Workforce Solutions).

The grant funds the first year of a project to increase employment opportunities for students with developmental disabilities. The three-year project will develop partnerships and integrate resources between the workforce development board, local school districts and adult service agencies, including Easter Seals, local One-Stop Career Centers and the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.

"This project will work with local businesses to identify employment opportunities for students," said Sen. Lucio. "Workforce Solutions plans to work with major employers in the fastest-growing industry sectors in this area, such as healthcare and banking."

During the first year the project will work with 30 students from high schools in Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties. "This is an important grant that will help us find employment for so many special education graduates," said Sen. Zaffirini. "Project RISE will help provide services and supports that students with severe disabilities need to explore their employment options, develop job hunting skills and prepare for positions that match their skills and interests."

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities is a 27-member board, dedicated to improving the lives of 411,500 Texans with developmental disabilities. Using a variety of activities, such as grant projects, technical assistance, public awareness and leadership training, the Council enables 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, mental retardation, mental illness, traumatic brain injury and epilepsy.

Additional information on the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities is on the Internet at http://www.txddc.state.tx.us or call Angela Lello at 1-800-262-0334, (512) 437-5417.

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