Cobb County Workforce Area (CobbWorks!

) Project Exceed & Project Access
In July 2001, CobbWorks! joined forces with the Cobb/Douglas Community Services Board, Cobb Micro-Enterprise Center, and Tommy Nobis Center to conceptualize and submit an innovative grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) – and Project Exceed was born. The Georgia Department of Labor Vocational Rehabilitation also joined the effort with the provision of services to participants, including the “braiding” of funding streams to assist customers in fulfilling their career plans. Project Exceed, a five-year customized employment and entrepreneurship project for people with disabilities, was one of only seven grant recipients in the country, receiving approximately $655,000 for each of the five years. In 2003, as a result of the success of Project Exceed, the partnership secured a two-year $649,000 Workforce Incentive Grant (WIG) through the Employment and Training Administration of USDOL to “roll-out” customized employment strategies across the state of Georgia. Additionally, eleven sub-grants of around $25,000 each were made to local workforce boards in Georgia to increase accessibility of local workforce systems for people with disabilities. Project Access has also provided training to representatives from the eleven workforce areas to develop their own disability navigator teams to support their local systems. The collaborative nature of this initiative has been extended to the Georgia Department of Labor through a tentative agreement to provide accessibility and customized employment strategy training to staff in the 53 GDOL career centers in 2005. The development and synergy of this collaboration has facilitated the attraction of exceptional resources to Cobb County and throughout the State of Georgia that otherwise would not have been available. Additionally, the strength of Cobb’s business community is being leveraged by creating business-to-business commerce with newly developed businesses and by capitalizing upon job placement sites for participants served through customized strategies. On January 18, 2005, CobbWorks! and the Georgia Workforce Board conducted joint board meetings in conjunction with the Project Exceed Business Expo which showcased 40 businesses developed through the initiative. At this meeting, Susan Parker, the Director of Policy for ODEP in Washington DC said that people throughout the country are talking about the collaborative strategies in Cobb County. “The innovation and partnerships in Cobb County, Georgia, have national and even international significance for working with people with disabilities,” she stated. The Cobb County collaboration is effectively providing direct services to participants in new and innovative ways, while influencing policy and system change in service people with disabilities throughout the state and country. For additional information, please contact: CobbWorks! 770-528-4300

February 7, 2005