$12.6 Million in Grants Awarded to Help Improve Outcomes of Individuals with Disabilities in Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Development

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$12.6 Million in Grants Awarded to Help Improve Outcomes of Individuals with Disabilities in Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Development

October 9, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) today announced more than $12.6 million in grants in multiple project areas to help improve the outcomes of individuals with disabilities—from cradle through career. The investments are aimed at promoting inclusion, equity and opportunity for individuals with disabilities to help ensure their economic self-sufficiency, independent living and full community participation.

"We want all individuals with disabilities to have opportunities and succeed," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “These are part of our commitment to ensuring all students – no matter their zip code, family income or disability – have a chance to be successful in college, careers and life.”

The $12.6 million in grants from OSERS' Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) includes the following:

  • The Older Individuals Who Are Blind (OIB) Training and Technical Assistance (TA) Center is to provide sustained training and technical assistance (TA) to designated state agencies (DSAs) funded under the OIB program and any service providers the DSAs fund to provide services directly to consumers. Individuals who are blind, who are 55 years of age or older, utilize these services to increase their independence and self-sufficiency when employment due to their impairment is extremely difficult to attain. This OIB TA Center will be located at Mississippi State University.

  • The American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) Training and Technical Assistance (TA) Center will provide training and TA to governing bodies of Indian tribes that have received AIVRS grants. With the new reservation of funds set into law under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the TA training for AIVRS staff and specialists will span various areas from knowledge of applicable laws and regulations to data collection and reporting. This AIVRS TA Center will be housed at ABOR for Northern Arizona University.

  • The Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities projects will address the dual issue of employers’ being able to find employees with necessary skillsets and people with disabilities being unable to find employment. These projects are located at the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, the Nebraska Department of Education, Division of Rehabilitation Services, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, and the Kentucky Office for the Blind, Department of Workforce Development.

  • The Technical Assistance Center for Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance (PEQA) is to develop new types of training programs for rehabilitation personnel to improve the effective delivery of services. The TA Center for PEQA will be located at the University of Wisconsin—Stout.

  • The Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities (VRTAC-TC) is to provide TA and training to upgrade and increase the competency, skills, and knowledge of vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors and other professionals to assist economically disadvantaged individuals with disabilities to achieve competitive integrated employment outcomes. The VRTAC-TC will be located at Southern University and A&M College.

  • The Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WITAC) is to provide training and TA to state VR agencies to improve services for individuals with disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities. The WITAC will be located at San Diego State University Research Foundation.

  • The Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center—Youth with Disabilities (VRTAC-Y) is to provide training and TA to state VR agencies to assist in identifying and serving students and youth with disabilities, designing and implementing collaborative and integrative approaches to serving this population, and expanding the coordination of services. This TA Center would greatly assist youth with disabilities who are dropouts, exiting foster care or juvenile offenders, who do not have the adequate resources, supports and knowledge to make the successful transition into adulthood. The VRTAC-Y will be located at the Institute for Educational Leadership, Inc.

    The grants are being funded under the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.


    State

    City

    Recipients

    FY 2015 Amount

    Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are blind (OIB) Training and Technical Assistance. 84.177Z

    Mississippi

    Mississippi State

    Mississippi State University

    $598,506

    American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services—Training and Technical Assistance Program. 84.250Z

    Arizona

    Flagstaff

    ABOR for Northern Arizona University

    $701,880

    Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities. 84.235N

    Georgia

    Atlanta

    Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency

    $873,877

    Nebraska

    Lincoln

    Nebraska Department of Education, Division of Rehabilitation Services

    $680,869

    Virginia

    Richmond

    Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

    $843,465

    Kentucky

    Frankfort

    Kentucky Office for the Blind, Department of Workforce Development

    $875,000

    Technical Assistance Center for Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance. 84.263B

    Wisconsin

    Menomonie

    University of Wisconsin – Stout

    $500,000

    Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center—Targeted Communities. 84.264F

    Louisiana

    Baton Rouge

    Southern University and A&M College

    $2,500,000

    Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center. 84.264G

    California

    San Diego

    San Diego State University Research Foundation

    $3,499,131

    Rehabilitation Training: Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center—Youth with Disabilities. 84.264H

    District of Columbia

    Washington

    Institute for Educational Leadership, Inc.

    $1,499,997