Press Release: Maryland Awarded Grant Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE)

State receives $31 million five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

For Immediate Release                                   

Annapolis, MD (September 30, 2013)

Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Maryland was selected to receive $31 million as part of U.S. Department of Education grant Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE), an opportunity for states to improve the education and career outcomes of youth with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

“In Maryland, we have been guided by the principle that there is no such thing as a spare Marylander,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.  “As part of this commitment to being more effective in supporting child SSI recipients who continue to face challenges as adults,  we are committed to ensuring that all of our economic development and workforce creation initiatives include opportunities for individuals with disabilities.”

The U.S. Department of Education PROMISE initiative is intended to improve the provision and coordination of services for child SSI recipients and their families. The services will help child recipients achieve better outcomes; including graduating from high school ready for college and a career, completing postsecondary education and job training, and obtaining competitive employment in an integrated setting.   As a result, these child SSI recipients can achieve long-term reductions in reliance on SSI.

 "All children deserve a chance to achieve their educational and career goals," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The PROMISE initiative provides services and support to help our most at-risk students and their families so that they can focus on their education and a brighter future."

Maryland is working to create new pathways to the workforce for populations that have traditionally faced barriers to employment.    Maryland PROMISE, a partnership of state agencies and private sector disability organizations, will address the challenges faced by youth who, by virtue of SSI eligibility, are deemed to have a severe disability and be members of low-income families.   

“We are thrilled to receive the PROMISE grant from the U.S. Department of Education. With PROMISE, we hope to achieve better outcomes for child SSI recipients and their families," said Maryland Department of Disabilities Secretary Catherine A. Raggio. "This grants spans five years and will provide enhanced supports and services to 1,000 Maryland youth with disabilities. It will allow us to continue our leadership role in ensuring that all of our youth, including those receiving SSI benefits, are prepared to enter the 21st century workforce.” 

Maryland PROMISE will include the following:

  • Case management: coordination of services for the children and their families so that they can navigate through the services and supports available through the project and through the larger service delivery system for which they are eligible and which may be required to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Benefits counseling and financial literacy services: including ongoing provision of information and training on SSA work incentives, eligibility requirements of various programs, earnings rules, and financial planning.
  • Career and work-based learning experiences: including at least one paid work experience in an integrated setting before leaving high school.
  • Family training and information: including training to support children’s education and employment goals, and education, job training and employment for other family members.

Maryland PROMISE will be led by the Maryland Department of Disabilities, a cabinet level agency which, in partnership with other State agencies, works to remove barriers for people with disabilities and create new opportunities in education, employment, housing and transportation. Other partners include: Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Education and Special Education and Division of Rehabilitation Services; Department of Human Resources, (TANF agency); Department of Licensing and Labor Relations (WIA agency); Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (IDD, MH, Medicaid agencies); and Department of Juvenile Services.

PROMISE is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor.  Maryland and the four other states and one consortium receiving PROMISE grants, will be subject to a national evaluation.