About Hire Abilities Hawaii

Hire Abilities Hawaii is a team of five highly trained disability employment specialists working within the UH Manoa Center on Disability Studies (CDS). The Hire Abilities team has more than 35 years of combined experience working with disability employment and disability benefits issues for people with disabilities and has successfully completed a series of disability employment grants and contracts for the state and federal government.

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

Disability Employment InitiativeThe Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) seeks to improve education, training, and employment opportunities and outcomes of youth and adults who are unemployed, underemployed, and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. DEI projects improve collaboration among employment and training and asset development programs implemented at state and local levels, including the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program, and build effective partnerships that leverage resources to better serve individuals with disabilities.

Hawaii’s DEI will focus its effort on the following strategies:

  • Increase American Job Center (AJC) staff competencies through training on Disability 101, Customized Employment, Career Pathway Systems, Job Accommodation, Asset Development, Individualized Learning Plans, and Disability Benefits Planning.
  • Leveraging funding and resources across the public workforce system by meeting with partner agencies to coordinate services.
  • Expanding AJC capacity by recruiting individuals with significant disabilities through direct mail and agency partnerships.
  • Utilizing career pathway strategies to prepare individuals to obtain and advance employment through industry relevant certifications and higher education.

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) or to Social Security Beneficiaries through the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program.

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.