Contact: Paige Watson
STARKVILLE, Miss.—The National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State is receiving two new federal grants totaling more than $7.3 million.
The funding supports six new university research projects under its Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Blindness or Other Visual Impairments.
The awards are provided through major units of the U.S. Department of Education, including the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research and the Rehabilitation Services Administration. The RSA award is a first for the MSU center.
“All projects focus on improving employment outcomes for people who are blind or visually impaired,” said center director Michele McDonnall, principal investigator for both grants.
Initial preparation for all grant-supported activities began Oct. 1, and the projects will be completed over a five-year period, she added.
McDonnall said the NIDILRR award will:
—Support development of a mobile application to help parents and youth with blindness or deaf-blindness focus on employment; and
—Enable a research experiment to evaluate best ways to approach employers about hiring people who are blind or visually impaired.
The RSA award will create training and technical assistance projects to be led by B.J. LeJeune, the center’s training supervisor. They include:
—Intensive training and technical assistance that incorporates record review, site visits and follow-up;
—Electronic training developed by a consortium of professional organizations in the field; and
—Creating a community of practice—a group sharing a craft or profession—that includes training, technical assistance and professional collaboration.
For more about the projects, as well as the center and its research partners, visit www.blind.msstate.edu/research .
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.