About Hire Abilities Hawaii

Hire Abilities Hawaii represents an innovative collaboration among the Department of Human Services (DHS), University of Hawai`i College of Education Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS), the Department of Education (DOE), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Labor (DOL) and its statewide Workforce Development Council.

About the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant

In 2006, Hawaii received a grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid to improve employment outcomes for persons with disabilities. The Medicaid Infrastructure Grant Program, known as Hire Abilities Hawaii, ran from 2006 to 2009.  It was  authorized under Section 203 of the Ticket-to-Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act.  MIG provided funding to states for Medicaid infrastructure development that built supports for people with disabilities seeking employment. States are encouraged to use grant funding to implement and develop the optional working disabled eligibility group (Medicaid buy-in), increase the availability of statewide personal assistance services, form linkages with other state and local agencies that provide employment related supports, and create a seamless infrastructure that will maximize the employment potential of all people with disabilities.  The Hire Abilities website grew out of these goals and objectives

About the Disability Employment Initiative

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded grants under the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) to improve education, training, and employment opportunities and outcomes of youth and adults who are unemployed, underemployed, and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. The DEI is jointly funded and administered by the U.S. DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

In Hawaii, two counties were selected by lottery to receive the DEI grant. Starting in 2012, Maui County and Hawaii County received additional funding and technical assistance to implement several training and partnership strategies at local One-Stop Employment Centers.

  • Integrated Resource Teams coordinate services and leverage funding to meet the needs of a job seeker with a disability.
  • Blending and Braiding Funds / Leveraging Resources from multiple sources to contribute to education, training and/or employment goals.
  • Customized Employment individualizes the relationship between job seekers and businesses to meet the needs of both.
  • Asset Development Strategies represent various approaches to enhance long-term economic self-sufficiency.
  • Partnerships and Collaboration impact the ability of adults and youth with disabilities to participate in education, training and employment opportunities.

About Disability Benefits Technical Assistance

The Disability Benefits Technical Assistance Center at the UH Manoa Center on Disability Studies provides access to benefits counseling & education services. We offer trainings, orientations and workshops to agencies, individuals with disabilities, and family members. In addition, we offer personalized benefits planning to individuals receiving federal benefits (Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, Housing, etc.)

Benefits planning services are currently available to clients of the Hawaii Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).

About this Website

This website is intended to provide resources to support employment for individuals with disabilities. It is intended to be used by job seekers with disabilities, service providers, agencies and businesses.

This site was revamped December 2013 and now has many new features and content. Some major additions to the website include:

  • The Benefits Finder can search for eligibility and work incentive information for Hawaii’s state and federal disability programs.
  • Use our Resource Finder to search a database of articles, web sites and provider agencies for employment resources.
  • Learn more about how Hawaii’s proposed Medicaid Buy-In Program could help workers with a disability who require Medicaid.


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