WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that Friends Aware Incorporated has received a grant in the amount of $185,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for the expansion of facilities and capabilities. Friends Aware provides vocational training, employment services and day habitation to individuals with developmental disabilities in Allegany County.
“I am proud that this grant will empower Marylanders with developmental disabilities to live up to their full potential,” said Senator Cardin. “By providing tools, skills and opportunities, Friends Aware in conjunction with Appalachian Regional Commission are strengthening families and communities in Western Maryland.”
“Friends Aware in Allegany County helps Marylanders with mental and intellectual challenges to have a way to a better life,” Senator Mikulski said. “This grant will help people move into the workplace and find success there. The result is good for individuals receiving these services, good for employers and good for Maryland’s economy.”
The grant will expand and upgrade the 22,000 square foot facility on Holland Street in Cumberland. Currently Friends Aware provides day habitation to 140 individuals. The expansion will enable more community partnerships and create greater opportunity for skills training and employment. Friends Aware works with the Maryland Department of Education Division of Rehabilitation to provide career counseling, medical rehabilitation, and job placement to those who qualify. This grant will enable Friends Aware to create 15 new direct care staffing jobs by 2015.
In addition to the $185,000 in ARC funding, local sources will provide an additional $185,000 bringing the total amount to $370,000. Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred projects in the Appalachian Region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing, and transportation.