The Kessler Foundation, West Orange, NJ, has approved a grant allocation of $1.9 million to benefit people with physical disabilities through Kessler’s Transition to Work initiative.

Earlier this year, the Foundation awarded more than $423,000 in grants to benefit grant programs that increase employment opportunities for this underserved population. The total amount awarded for employment initiatives during 2009 was more than $2.3 million.

“This year has been a challenging one for people with disabilities trying to seek employment,” said Elaine Katz, vice president of grants and special initiatives, in a statement. “Even though we are approaching the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), only one-third of people with disabilities work, while the vast majority say they would if they had the opportunity.”

The foundation awards grants to organizations that work toward improving employment and career advancement. Selection of grant recipients is based on extent of public impact and the proven success of their programs, says the foundation. Click here to view a list of recipients.

Close to $1.5 million was awarded to three major Signature Employment programs, which will fund new high-impact projects that use new and creative ways to increase employment. Local community organizations received approximately $694,507 through Community Employment grants to create job opportunities and training. Special Initiative grants of $165,173 funded arts, recreation and technology programs for people with disabilities.

The foundation focuses on rehabilitation research and grantmaking that benefit people with disabilities. Kessler Foundation Research Center conducts research that improves function and quality of life for people with injuries of the spinal cord and brain, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic neurological and orthopedic conditions.

[Source: Kessler Foundation]