HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Department of Education has been awarded nearly $10 million in federal grants.

The money will go toward improving programs for students with disabilities entering the job market.

Carolina Shores Acceleration Academy is one of the facilities that will use the money and work with students to make sure that they are ready and prepared to enter the workforce.

It’s called the “South Carolina Pathways Project.”

The funding aims to provide better and equal job opportunities for students with disabilities. It will also provide teachers with specific skills that they can pass along to their students.

The South Carolina Department of Education is one of only 12 agencies across the country to receive the grants.

A disability statistics and demographics study conducted earlier this year showed that 14.3% of South Carolina is made up of people who identify with a disability.

Those statistics also place the state as seventh in the U.S. with a high rate of unemployment among disabled adults.

“You know, there’s a lot of students with disabilities in our state that just have a learning disability,” said Derek Phillips, director of communication for the South Carolina Department of Education. “It’s not a physical disability, but, you know, they leave our schools and they don’t have the necessary training that’s required for certain types of unemployment. So, it’s an opportunity to really expand what we already have.”

The director of the academy, Deirdra Brasch, shared how much the grant means to them.

“When they’re here receiving their services, you would never know because of our fully inclusive environment,” Brasch said. “And they really get the support and the targeted support that they need to achieve what they need to achieve to get that high school diploma.”

There is no definitive timeframe for when all of the schools will be getting the money, but the Department of Education hopes to distribute it in the spring.

Gracie is a multimedia journalist at News 13 and is from Cleveland, Ohio. Gracie joined the team in June 2023 after graduating from the University of Alabama in May 2023. Follow Gracie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter & read more of her work here.