The U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration has awarded SDSU’s College of Education $2.56 million to support students in the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Post-Secondary Education. The four competitive grants will go directly to graduate students in the form of tuition support and stipends.
The grants are designed to bring more professionals into the field of rehabilitation counseling which supports individuals with physical, sensory, mental health and/or cognitive disabilities to obtain employment and live independently.
Preparing people with disabilities for the work force
“Hiring people with disabilities makes good business sense, bringing different experiences and perspectives to help companies continue to innovate,” said Caren Sax, department chair. “Today, it's easier for employers to tap the large labor pool of people with disabilities who are dedicated workers and team players with the right job skills.”
According to the California Department of Rehabilitation, it is estimated there will be a need across the state for 500 new counselors within the next five years as persons with disabilities continue to have the highest unemployment rate of all underrepresented groups.
SDSU’s Rehab Counseling Program is consistently ranked in the top 10 rehabilitation graduate programs nationally.
The four grants awarded include:
- Long-term Training in Rehabilitation Counseling ($150,000 per year for five years): This grant will support students pursuing the master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. Rehabilitation counselors traditionally work in state vocational rehab agencies or community-based non-profit organizations, independent living centers, the Veterans Administration and other agencies that provide employment and other supports to individuals with disabilities.
- Long-term Training in Psychiatric Rehabilitation ($100,000 per year for five years): This grant will help students complete their master’s degrees in rehabilitation counseling. It is specifically for students seeking to develop expertise in working with individuals with psychiatric disabilities such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues. Students who receive support, in the form of tuition support and monthly stipends, are responsible for then working in the vocational rehabilitation system as a "payback."
- Post-Employment Training in Rehabilitation Administration – American Indian Rehabilitation ($100,000 per year for five years): This grant supports students completing the 21-unit graduate level certificate in rehabilitation administration. It is a hybrid program that enrolls students from across the country who either live on American Indian reservations or who work with tribal rehabilitation agencies. In addition to distance education course work, the students spend several weeks at SDSU over the course of the 13-month certificate program. There are 79 tribal vocational rehabilitation programs in the United States.
- Rehabilitation Capacity Building Project ($300,000 per year for three years): These projects are funded to address the quality of vocational rehabilitation outcomes of underserved/underrepresented populations with disabilities. There are more than 36 minority institutions of higher education that offer rehabilitation education programs, partially as a result of the efforts of these projects.
About the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Post-Secondary Education (ARPE)
In addition to the master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and graduate certificates in rehabilitation specializations, the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Post-Secondary Education offers a master’s degree in educational leadership/postsecondary education, plus the independent doctoral degree in educational leadership with a concentration in community college leadership, plus several advanced certificate programs.
The department delivers degrees and certificates in both traditional on-campus programs and via distance education. The Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Post-Secondary Education prides itself on student access, equity and success, particularly for nontraditional students, including students who are returning to school later in life, those whose first language was not English and adults with disabilities.