OSERS Announces New Technical Assistance Center on Improving Transition

A new opportunity from the Department of Education:

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services is excited to announce a new competition
The National Technical Assistance Center on Improving Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students with Disabilities

On Wednesday, July 2, 2014, the U.S Department of Education published a Notice in the Federal Register inviting applications for a new award to establish and operate a National Technical Assistance Center on Improving Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students with Disabilities (Center).  The Notice can be accessed at:   http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-02/pdf/2014-15437.pdf.  The Center will assist State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and other VR service providers to implement evidence-based and promising practices and strategies to ensure that students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, graduate from high school with the knowledge, skills, and supports needed for success in postsecondary education and employment.

Too many students with disabilities continue to experience difficulty in completing high school programs and gaining the content knowledge, work experiences, and other career-readiness skills and preparation needed to succeed as they transition from secondary education to postsecondary education and employment.   According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2014) in 2012, 80 percent of students graduated high school with a regular diploma in four years, whereas, for students with disabilities, the four-year cohort graduation rate was 61 percent.  Furthermore, data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS-2), in the 2009-2010 school year, indicated  that 21 percent of students with disabilities dropped out of high school and only 45.6 percent of students with disabilities enrolled in some form of postsecondary education within four years of leaving school ( Newman et. al., 2010).  In order to improve post-school outcomes for students with disabilities, SEAs, LEAs, State VR agencies, and other VR service providers need to implement evidence-based and promising practices and strategies designed to prepare students with disabilities for postsecondary education and employment.

The Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services  is committed to the goal of ensuring that every student, including every student with a disability, graduates from high school with the essential knowledge and skills for success in postsecondary education and employment.  In order to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, the Department is working to better coordinate its expertise and resources.  To further this, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) are collaborating to support a technical assistance center that will help build the capacity of SEAs, LEAs, State VR agencies, and other VR service providers to implement evidence-based and promising practices and strategies to ensure that students with disabilities graduate from high school and are prepared for success in postsecondary education and employment.

This competition is open to SEAs; LEAs, including public charter schools that are considered LEAs under State law; State VR agencies; IHEs; other public agencies; private nonprofit organizations; outlying areas; freely associated States; Indian tribes or tribal organizations; and for-profit organizations. The Department intends to fund one project for $2.5 million a year for 5 years.

The application package is available beginning on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 and the deadline for submitting completed applications is Monday, August 18, 2014.  In order to assist with the application process, the Department will host an informational teleconference for applicants to review the application and ask questions.

The informational teleconference will be held on July 3, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. EDT.  The Conference Number is 1-877 512 6886 and the Conference ID is 8613019655.  The teleconference can also be accessed at the following URL: http://tadnet.adobeconnect.com/osep/. Please contact Marlene Simon-Burroughs, 202-245-7525 or marlene.simon-burroughs@ed.gov  on July 2, 2014 but no later than 12:00 p.m. EDT on the day of the teleconference to request a copy of the materials that will be presented during the call.

For further information about the proposed center, please contact: Selete Avoke (OSEP) (selete.avoke@ed.gov; 202-245-7260) or Kristen Rhinehart (RSA) (kristen.rhinehart@ed.gov; 202-245-6103).

Michael K. Yudin
Acting Assistant Secretary
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Melody Musgrove, Ed. D.
Director
Office of Special Education Programs

Janet L. LaBreck
Commissioner
Rehabilitation Services Administration

John Tschida
Director
National Institute on Disability and
Rehabilitation Research

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