Lexington, Ky. – Goodwill Industries of Kentucky has been awarded a federal Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) grant to provide employment counseling and support to 300 beneficiaries of the Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) programs in 54 Kentucky counties.
Renewable for four additional years and worth a total of $1.1 million, the grant will allow Goodwill to hire four employees who will undergo comprehensive training to become certified Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs). The CWICs will be responsible for helping beneficiaries access Social Security Administration (SSA) work incentives programs, emphasizing the advantage of working while maintaining current benefits. The CWICs will also provide information about other work incentives, benefits counseling services, and resources. Each CWIC will be able to articulate SSA benefits system regulations, perform intakes with beneficiaries, and help them develop individual employment plans.
“Thousands of Kentuckians come to Goodwill for employment assistance every year,” said Elodie Dickinson, Lexington-area workforce development manager for Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. “We have a long history of successfully placing beneficiaries of SSI and SSDI into jobs, and we are excited for this opportunity to reach even more people who need a hand up in reaching their employment goals.”
Outreach efforts will be made to SSI and SSDI beneficiaries aged 14 and older in northern, eastern, and southern Kentucky who are working, self-employed part-time or full-time, about to go to work part-time or full-time, or considering entering the workforce. Goodwill plans to collaborate with school systems, non-profit organizations serving people with disabilities, and state and local government, including the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Lexington Fayette Urban County Government.
Counties served will be: Bath, Bell, Boone, Bourbon, Boyd, Bracken, Breathitt, Campbell, Carter, Clark, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Grant, Greenup, Harlan, Harrison, Jackson, Johnson, Kenton, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Mason, McCreary, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Pendleton, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Scott, Whitley and Wolfe.
Goodwill anticipates implementing the WIPA program early in its 2016 fiscal year—which begins this October 1—and operating through July 31, 2020, provided the grant is renewed to Goodwill each year. For more information about WIPA, visit http://www.ssa.gov/work/WIPA.html.