Release Date: September 25, 2014

Media Contacts:
Project Director Rooshey Hasnain, (312) 996-5091
Community Outreach Coordinator Jae Jin Pak, (312) 996-9171

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a one-year, $272,212 state grant to help undeserved Asian immigrants and refugees with disabilities access culturally and linguistically relevant support(s) to find employment.

The grant is issued through the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Division of Rehabilitation (DRS), both of which work in partnership with people with disabilities and their families to assist them in making informed choices to achieve full community participation through employment, education, and independent-living opportunities.

The grant renewal will allow ADOPT to address educational experiences, community connections, employer linkages, and support services in the greater Chicago area. Specific goals of the program include recruitment of underrepresented groups in the Asian American community, an institutional analysis of student retention, and creation of more courses with field components that link students with community organizations.

Today, hundreds of Asians Americans with disabilities (AAWDs) living in the Chicago area are qualified to work but are unable to find employment because of a simple problem: they have no idea where to go for job services or support. Researchers know that a major factor in this real-life scenario is also simple: vocational rehabilitation (VR) and community-service providers are not aware of the VR needs of AAWDs and how to reach out to them (Hasnain & Leung, 2010). However, thanks to funding for a grassroots, systems-change outreach project that ended on June 30, 2014, this situation has begun to be addressed. This grant renewal will allow ADOPT to continue working toward its mission.

The project is fully funded by the DHS-DRS grant and is being undertaken in collaboration with the Asian American Studies Program, UIC Department of Disability and Human Development, and the Office of Social Science Research (OSSR).

The goals of the grant for 2014/2015 include: the continued development of outreach strategies and tools that vocational rehabilitation and community-based organizations can use to help Asians and other immigrant job seekers with disabilities find employment; continued research in the form of focus groups and qualitative and quantitative data analysis; and continued work by ADOPT’s three task forces. These task forces focus on agency capacity-building to address disability and vocational rehabilitation barriers, cultural and linguistic capacities at Illinois DRS, and promote employment opportunities with and for Asians with disabilities.

UIC is home to the renowned Institute on Disability and Human Development, Illinois’ only federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service. To learn more about UIC, please visit

Funding Cycle: July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015