There are more than 75 JobLink clients working at more than 50 Lawrence businesses in Lawrence.
Cottonwood Inc.'s JobLink program will receive a boost in its mission of helping people with disabilities, with a $57,000 grant that takes effect today.
"This is good news for anybody with barriers to employment," said Phil Bentzinger, who is in charge of JobLink for the Douglas County-based organization. There is also a Cottonwood office in Oskaloosa.
"This isn't only for Cottonwood clients. JobLink is for anybody served through vocational rehabilitation. We've kind of felt that our employment and assessment services could be expanded."
JobLink matches clients who have disabilities with jobs, based on their abilities and interests and what employers are seeking, Bentzinger said. Ten similar programs across the state received a total of $1.6 million in grants for career development from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
There are more than 75 JobLink clients working at more than 50 Lawrence retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses. Bentzinger said another 70 people are waiting for jobs through the program.
The $57,775 grant will be used to hire two staff rehabilitation specialists and another assessment manager, who will tailor job specifications with clients' abilities.
Bentzinger is interviewing for the positions, which haven't been filled yet.
Staff members meet with job seekers at the Cottonwood facility at 2801 W. 31st and also evaluate them at their job, Bentzinger said.
The money for the grants became available through the sale of the Kansas Vocational Rehabilitation Center in Salina.
"Consumers of rehabilitation services asked that these services be made available close to their home community so they do not have to travel and live away from home," SRS Secretary Rochelle Chronister said.
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.