$ 1.1 Million Grant for Professional Training to Help Disabled Youth “Transition” to Adulthood


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Submitted photo

The team for the transitional faculty includes, top left: Johanna Thomas, Renee Speight and Brent Williams; and below: Peggy Schaefer-Whitby, Suzanne Kucharczyk and Tameeka Hunter. Professor Sara Collie is not in the photo.

Young adults with disabilities often find it difficult to make the transition from school to adulthood. This can be detrimental to employment, community involvement and overall independence.

An interdisciplinary group of faculty from the College of Education and the Health Professions recently received a grant of $ 1,079,177 from the US Department of Education to prepare professionals who can help.

The “Team up for the transition, Preparing Youth in Transition to Community and Work “will select 31 scholarship recipients to complete their masters – with tuition paid – in special education, vocational rehabilitation or social work with a specialization in transition programs and services. These specialists will help to support young people with disabilities and their families in their plans for the future.

Applications are open now for the first cohort, which will begin classes in the summer of 2022.

Fellows will earn a Graduate Certificate in Transition Services and a Masters Degree. Classes will be available online with experienced teachers and transition specialists. Fellows will complete the required internship hours at a high school or community program in their region.

Suzanne Kucharczyk, Principal Investigator, said: “We are delighted to offer this interdisciplinary approach to graduate student preparation, which will teach academics to work together using evidence-based practices and developing programs that predict success of adults with disabilities. Accepted graduate students will acquire discipline-specific knowledge and practices as well as expertise in bridging and teamwork programs to better prepare young people with disabilities for their future.

This project builds on the work of the previous Department of Education Teaming for Transition grant, continues the partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education and the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT: C), builds on lessons learned from the Arkansas PROMISE. Model demonstration project, and builds on partnerships with rural high schools in need, the State Parent Resource Center, and vocational rehabilitation and social work agencies.

Future researchers must be admitted to the doctoral school, complete an online application, conduct an online interview and be selected by the Teaming for Transition faculty.

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