Melwood Hosts Congressional Visit, Commemorates $307,000 in Federal Funding in Support of Melwood’s Neurodivergent Workforce Initiative
October 10, 2023
Melwood welcomed U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Representative Don Beyer, and members of the Virginia state delegation to discuss importance of fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace
ARLINGTON, VA, October 10, 2023 – Melwood, a leading employer, advocate and preferred provider for people with disabilities, welcomed U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Representative Don Beyer, and members of the Virginia General Assembly on Friday, September 22, to commemorate $307,000 in congressionally directed federal funding from FY23 to Melwood to support its Neurodivergent Workforce Initiative. Virginia officials in attendance included Senator Barbara Favola, Delegates Paul Krizek, Elizabeth Bennet Parker, Alfonso Lopez, and Mark Sickles, along with Arlington County Board Members Matt DeFeranti and Tannia Talento.
This funding supports one of Melwood’s strategic workforce development programs, abilIT. Melwood’s abilIT program deploys industry-standard technical training and soft skills coaching to prepare people with disabilities to pursue careers in technology, while partnering with leading technology employers to address a critical workforce gap and building more inclusive recruitment and retention strategies.
“The generous federal funding that Senator Warner and Representative Beyer have secured for Melwood will be transformational in the operation and expansion of our programs,” said Larysa Kautz, President and CEO of Melwood. “We’re eager to invest this funding to expand our services to reach more people with disabilities in Virginia who have the talent and potential to contribute to our local tech industry. We are grateful to Senator Warner and Representative Beyer for their support of Melwood and advocacy for our mission on Capitol Hill, and we look forward to continuing these partnerships for many years to come.”
This funding will help Melwood complete key improvements and expansions the abilIT neurodiverse workforce program, which provides training, coaching and preparation for neurodivergent individuals to earn industry-recognized certifications and enter successful, fulfilling careers in technology and tech-adjacent fields.
“I was proud to fight for $307,000 in federal funding that will support the Melwood Disability Services’ Neurodivergent Workforce Initiative and its vision of inclusion for all,” said Senator Warner. “I got to see first-hand the important work of this program and am glad to continue to support Melwood’s efforts.”
Representative Don Beyer said, “Melwood’s technical training and professional development services are invaluable to our community and I’m proud to have partnered with Senator Warner to secure this important funding.”
The funding comes as Melwood is celebrating its 60th anniversary. In its mission to build a more inclusive world for people with disabilities, Melwood takes a holistic approach through employment, advocacy, job training and strategic partnerships to drive true impact for communities.
For more information about Melwood’s abilIT program and opportunities to partner to advance disability inclusion in technology, please visit: https://melwood.org/abilit/for-employers/.
Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.
Vice President of Government and Public Relations