Melwood Hosts Congressional Visit, Commemorates $500,000 in Federal Funding in Support of Melwood’s Neurodivergent Workforce Initiative

Melwood Hosts Congressional Visit, Commemorates $500,000 in Federal Funding in Support of Melwood’s Neurodivergent Workforce Initiative

July 31, 2023

Melwood welcomes U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, Chris Van Hollen, and Representative Steny Hoyer to discuss economic and community impact of historic federal funding


Upper Marlboro, Md., July 31, 2023 – Melwood, a leading employer, advocate and preferred provider for people with disabilities, welcomed U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Representative Steny Hoyer on Monday, July 24, to commemorate $500,000 in congressionally directed federal funding from FY23 to Melwood to support its Neurodivergent Workforce Initiative. The funding specifically 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, while building more inclusive recruitment and retention strategies.

“The leadership and commitment of Senator Cardin, Senator Van Hollen, Congressman Hoyer, and others to support initiatives driving employment opportunities and inclusion for members of our community that have disabilities, is deeply appreciated,” said Larysa Kautz, president & CEO, Melwood. “We’re honored to welcome them to Melwood and to partner with them in the ongoing work to uplift and empower a critical part of our workforce that is often overlooked, underestimated, and undervalued, to achieve a world that fully includes people with disabilities.”

The funding comes as Melwood is celebrating its 60th anniversary of building a more inclusive world for people with disabilities through economic empowerment, starting with employment. Melwood takes a holistic approach through employment, advocacy, job training, and strategic partnerships to drive true impact for communities.

“I’m constantly impressed, every time I visit Melwood. They provide an invaluable service to the disability community in Prince George’s County and the region,” said Senator Cardin. “Through their abilIT program and other job training opportunities, thousands of people with disabilities will realize their full potential. This critical federal funding will not only help Melwood expand its services, but create a more inclusive, diverse workforce.”

“Everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, but for too long those who learn and process information differently have been unfairly left behind in the workforce,” said Senator Van Hollen. “That’s why we worked to deliver this critical federal funding to expand Melwood’s Neurodivergent Workforce Initiative to strengthen their abilIT program which will uplift and empower more Marylanders and connect them with employers to realize their full potential. This program is a win-win – connecting businesses to a skilled workforce and opening the doors of opportunity for more Marylanders.”

“I’m proud to have helped secure this federal funding that will support Melwood and its mission of helping Marylanders living with a disability achieve their full potential,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Melwood’s work is changing the culture of how people living with disabilities find training, apply for, and are hired for highly technical IT positions. As we celebrate the 33nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a bill I was proud to sponsor in the House of Representatives, it was powerful to hear firsthand how the transformational opportunities Melwood provides are changing lives in Maryland’s 5th Congressional District and beyond.”

For more information about Melwood’s abilIT program and opportunities to partner to advance disability inclusion in technology, please visit:

About Melwood

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

Media Inquiries

Jewelyn Cosgrove
Vice President of Government and Public Relations
O: 240-846-3952
[email protected]


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