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Unitedhealthcare Awards $455,000 in Grants to Help Kansans with Disabilities Find Meaningful Employment

Grants part of three-year, $1.5 million “Empower Kansans” program

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (May 28, 2013) – UnitedHealthcare, in partnership with the Empower Kansans Advisory Committee, has awarded more than $455,000 in grants to community organizations that help Kansans living with disabilities find meaningful employment.

The grants are part of UnitedHealthcare’s Empower Kansans program, a three-year, $1.5 million initiative that helps bring together people living with disabilities, as well as local and regional community and business leaders, to support Kansas businesses and the economy.

The $455,000 in grants awarded today will support professional development for Medicaid beneficiaries living with disabilities in Kansas who are seeking employment. The grant recipients include:

  • Johnson County Developmental Supports (Lenexa) – for developing a national internship model for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in partnership with Johnson County;
  • Johnson County Mental Health Center (Olathe) – to help people overcome barriers to employment such as needed car repairs, bus passes, tuition or employment-interview attire;                                                 
  • Kansas Association of Centers for Independent Living (Topeka) – to develop a pilot with Prairie Independent Living Center (PILR) that will help educate people with disabilities on overcoming barriers to employment and provide individualized goal-setting;
  • Skills to Succeed (Olathe) – to create a job development & placement model for people with autism in Johnson, Wyandotte and Miami counties;
  • Disability Rights Center (Topeka) – to educate people about their right to employment services through statewide outreach to persons with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) and their family members, including those who are currently on the underserved wait list;
  • Valeo Behavioral Health Care, Inc. (Topeka) – to fund employment specialists that will expand the reach of employment services in Shawnee County;
  • Twin Valley Developmental Services (Waterville and Beattie) – to develop individualized job training and placement for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in rural communities in Marshall and Washington counties.

Last year, UnitedHealthcare awarded more than $260,000 in grants to five community organizations. Grantees are chosen in consultation with the Empower Kansans Advisory Committee composed of Kansans living with disabilities, local and regional community and business leaders, and advocacy organizations.

“The grant we received from Empower Kansans helps to ensure secure employment for individuals with disabilities throughout our state,” said Bob Hull, vice president for research at Wichita-based Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation (CPRF), which received a grant last year. “At CPRF, we work hard to make sure Kansans with disabilities are prepared for the mainstream job market while creating a lasting demand for these qualified workers.”

"I appreciate very much the Empower Kansans program as implemented by UnitedHealthcare. People with living with disabilities make outstanding employees if given the opportunity,” said Representative Dave Krum, chairman of the Robert Bethell KanCare Oversight Committee.  “Recently, UnitedHealthcare announced its support of Twin Valley Developmental Services through the Empower Kansans program. The result will be job training and placement for people with developmental disabilities in Marshall and Washington counties. "

The third request for submissions will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information or to apply for a grant, community organizations can contact

“The power of community and the commitment to helping people integrate into daily life has been remarkable to see,” said Timothy M. Spilker, president of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with community and business leaders statewide in helping people identify skills, passions and talents that support their overall wellness as healthy individuals and contributors to society. Empower Kansans is making a positive impact on people’s lives, our state and the economy.”

UnitedHealthcare is part of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), which has more than 2,000 employees in Kansas and currently serves the health care needs of more than 500,000 Kansans through UnitedHealthcare Medicaid, employer-sponsored and Medicare health benefit plans.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves more than 45 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

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