Disability

NTID Receives NSF Grant for DeafTEC Program

The Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) has been awarded a $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue its Technological Education Center for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students (DeafTEC) program. The NSF previously awarded $4.45 million to DeafTEC four years ago when the program was launched.

"Although some progress has been made, people with disabilities, particularly Americans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, continue to be employed at rates much lower than the rest of the population," said Donna Lange, principal investigator on the project, in a prepared statement. The DeafTEC program aims to help more deaf and hard-of-hearing people land jobs as highly skilled technicians. To achieve that goal, DeafTEC is partnering with high schools, community colleges and industry to help improve access to technological education and employment for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

DeafTEC's partnership activities include:

  • Providing professional development opportunities for educators;
  • Providing instructional materials and strategies designed to help deaf and hard-of-hearing students develop skills in math and writing;
  • Providing strategies for employers to successfully integrate deaf and hard-of-hearing employees into the workplace;
  • Helping community colleges develop strategies to recruit and retain deaf and hard-of-hearing students in STEM programs; and
  • Introducing middle school and high school students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to STEM programs and careers through job shadowing opportunities, field trips and internships.

The NTID will use the new NSF funding to provide online resources and curricular materials to help students develop job readiness skills and to help secondary teachers meet the needs of their deaf and hard-of-hearing students, according to Lange. Since many military veterans return from active service with hearing impairments, the NTID is also "developing resources for community college instructors to address the academic challenges that student veterans with hearing loss face in STEM programs," said Lange in a prepared statement.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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