UB Program Receives $2.5 Million Federal Grant to Provide Continuing Education in Rehabilitation Counseling

Release Date: October 7, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Region II Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (RRCEP) in the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education has received a $2.5 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).

It will be used to make high-quality human resource and organizational development activities available to state and Native American rehabilitation agencies, independent living centers, client assistance programs, consumers and workplace partners that serve disabled populations in DOE's Region II, consisting of New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The UB program was one of 10 set up by the DOE in 1974 to develop and provided responsive, flexible and accountable training programs to state agencies serving individuals with disabilities.

It is headed by David Burganowski, Ph.D., associate professor of counseling and educational psychology in the UB Graduate School of Education. The program has attracted six DOE rehabilitation training grants totaling more than $15 million since Burganowski was named director in 1979.

Under this stewardship, the RRCEP program has been so successful that it now is considered a model for RRCEPs nationwide. This success led, in 1998, to the first of two five-year, $2.5 million DOE grants to provide similar services to more than 400 community-based rehabilitation programs (CRPs) in Region II. This program is called the CRP-RRCEP to distinguish it from the General RRCEP that serves state and Native American rehabilitation agencies, independent living centers and client assistance programs.

Burganowski stresses the importance of highly trained, competent administrators, rehabilitation counselors, job coaches, board members and clerical staff in these agencies.

He says, "We help organizations build their human-resource capacity through assistance to improve service delivery through leadership, consultation, state-of-the-art education, training programs and information dissemination."

"The significance of such training may not be of concern to us until we need these agencies," Burganowski says.

"Mental illness or physical disability can be congenital or acquired and are found in people of all ages," he points out, "and we're living longer, so we're more likely to require the services of rehabilitation agencies than in past years. If you are struck ill or are injured at age 50, for instance, you're too young to retire and may need new skills and job placement assistance to help support yourself and your family."

He says those living in Region II are very fortunate that excellent training is available to the rehabilitation specialists who serve them. It means, he says, that should they need such services, the specialists who help them are likely to be well-educated and familiar not only with their needs, but with a wide range of pertinent programs and services.

UB's general RRCEP and CRP RRCEP programs have helped agency employees become proficient and current in the vocational-rehabilitation process, vocational and psychological aspects of disabilities, leadership succession planning, and transition from school to careers, professional development and counseling skills.

Since 1998 the programs have trained nearly 10,000 service providers, provided certificates to hundreds of job coaches, presented more than two dozen conferences, offered distance-learning courses to more than 500 employees, and offered technical assistance and informational services to more than 100 agencies.

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