Nearly $1 Million Awarded to SUU Disability Resource Center

Published: October 29, 2021 | Author: Lawrence Mbaki | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUU Disability Resource CenterUtah’s Department of Workforce Services recently awarded Southern Utah University’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) $913,160 to expand pre-employment transition services (pre-ETS) to students with disabilities. This will double the number of students receiving pre-ETS from 100 to 200 annually starting October 1, 2021, and will add more students each year through September 2024. DRC will also seek the optional fourth year of funding associated with this opportunity, which would continue the grant through 2025 and bring the total award to over 1.2 million dollars.

Pre-ETS includes activities that provide early professional development and job exploration experiences to students with disabilities to help them prepare and transition from school to employment. Services enhanced by this round of grant funding include weekly peer mentoring and summer professional development experiences to enhance work readiness and self-advocacy skills.

The DRC anticipates a minimum of 125 students will benefit yearly from the peer mentorship program and a minimum of 75 students will benefit yearly from at least one of three main activities associated with work-based learning summer experiences, including participating in a career exploration course, pre-internship instruction, and/or local internship.

“There is something so rewarding in seeing a student, who is struggling to find joy in everyday life, pick themselves up, use the tools that are given to them, and create a better version of themselves,” said Jana Flanary, pre-ETS assistant and current student at SUU. “Every student is capable of this—sometimes they just need a guiding map to help them get there. This grant has been that map for our students.”

SUU’s Disability Services Director Carmen Alldredge wrote and secured a grant four years ago that established pre-ETS services on the SUU campus. This led Alldredge to hire Susan Hunter as the grant coordinator. During the years that followed, Hunter and the DRC team grew and maintained a successful pre-ETS program that positively affected student educational performance while helping students focus on a career track. Securing the current round of grant funding was possible in large part due to the success of this program.

“Susan was the right fit for the position. She was a fast learner, paid attention to detail, and was someone who understood the dream and the reason why we had to support our students even more,” said Alldredge. “Together with community partners, our campus community, and Susan's new hired assistant, the DRC will provide even greater support to more students than ever before.”

“These grant services will have a tremendously positive impact on the lives and futures of our students,” said Hunter. “When applying for a grant, begin with the end in mind. Also, begin with a personal conversation with the SPARC team to discuss the grant, the goal, and the entire process. We are so grateful for the oversight and benefit of having the SPARC office facilitate the grant writing and application process.”

As a predominantly undergraduate institution deeply focused on the student, the pre-ETS program is another great example of how SUU puts students first. This is the true Thunderbird way! To learn more about the pre-ETS program or any of the services provided by SUU’s Disability Resource Center, stop by their office in the Student Center or call 435-865-8042.

Produced by the SPARC Office
SUU's SPARC Office provides assistance to faculty, staff, and administrators seeking external funding for their projects and programs, from concept development and planning through implementation and management of funded projects.

Tags: SPARC Disability Resource Center

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