The demographic profile of America is rapidly changing. While the percentage increase from 2000 to 2010 for white Americans was 9.7 percent, the percentage increase for racial and ethnic minorities was much higher: 43.0 percent for Latinos, 12.3 percent for African-Americans, and 43.2 percent for Asian-Americans.
Patterns of inequitable treatment of minorities have been documented in all major junctures of the vocational rehabilitation process. As compared to white Americans, a larger percentage of African-American applicants to the vocational rehabilitation system is denied acceptance. Of applicants accepted for service, a larger percentage of African-American cases is closed without being rehabilitated. Minorities are provided less training than their white counterparts. Consistently, less money is spent on minorities than on their white counterparts.
Recruitment efforts within vocational rehabilitation at the level of preservice training, continuing education, and in-service training must focus on bringing larger numbers of minorities into the profession in order to provide appropriate practitioner knowledge, role models, and sufficient manpower to address the clearly changing demography of vocational rehabilitation.
For each fiscal year, the Commissioner and the Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (referred to in this subsection as the “Director”) shall reserve 1 percent of the funds appropriated for the fiscal year for programs authorized under subchapters II, III, VI, and VII to carry out this subsection. The Commissioner and the Director shall use the reserved funds to carry out one or more of the activities described in paragraph (2) through a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement.
In each fiscal year, the Commissioner and the Director shall prepare and submit to Congress a report that describes the activities funded under this subsection for the preceding fiscal year.
In awarding grants, or entering into contracts or cooperative agreements under subchapters I, II, III, VI, and VII of this chapter, and section 794e of this title, the Commissioner and the Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, in appropriate cases, shall require applicants to demonstrate how the applicants will address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds.