UofM Receives Federal Grant to Improve Services for Students with Disabilities

November 24, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, has awarded the University of Memphis Institute on Disability (UMID) a five-year, $1.5 million grant to expand inclusive postsecondary education training for students with intellectual disabilities.

As a Transition and Postsecondary Education Program for Students with Intellectual Disability (TPSID)-funded program, UMID will provide affordable vocational and independent living training to more local transition-aged adults with intellectual disabilities while participating in research related to improving their quality of life. UMID already has negotiated expanding its services to more locations, including the University of Memphis Lambuth, and will have the opportunity for additional growth with resources from the grant.

"This was and will continue to be a team effort among folks from several disciplines in the helping professions," said Dr. Chrisann Schiro-Geist, principal investigator of the proposal. "The grant is called Building Resources for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities Towards Gainful Employment (BRIDGE). Together with my associate director from UMID, Maurice Williams, and my co-investigators, Kay Reese and Will Hunter, we will facilitate our young adults with disabilities to cross that bridge to employment and full inclusion in society."

Williams added, "The Institute on Disability is excited by its partnering with local organizations on this project, such as the University of Tennessee Boling Center and Shelby County Schools. These partnerships will allow the institute to improve its services and engage in greater community outreach, ensuring that more individuals with intellectual disabilities receive these valuable services than ever before."

UMID hosted the Tennessee Inclusive Postsecondary Education Alliance quarterly meeting on the UofM campus Oct. 29-30. The meeting featured Madeline Will, former assistant secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services under President Ronald Reagan.

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey