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Burton Blatt Institute receives funding from U.S. Department of Education for five-year rehabilitation technology project

August 11, 2009

Me'Shae Brooks-Rolling
(315) 443-8455

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University has received $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) for a new five-year research and knowledge dissemination project. The Center on Effective Delivery of Rehabilitation Technology by Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies will advance the effective delivery of rehabilitation technology by vocational rehabilitation agencies for youth in transition and working-age adults with disabilities. The funding (grant H133A090004) is the only award of its kind in the country.

A comprehensive research and practice agenda will be implemented by a multidisciplinary BBI team to evaluate employment and training programs to identify policies, procedures and practices that result in increased employment for individuals with significant disabilities. BBI will analyze supports for rehabilitation technology delivery, including counselor education, assessment tools, information management, consumer education, and public and private sector relationships.

For this new project, BBI's network of national and important collaborators has expanded to include the Institute for Matching Person and Technology (IMPT), the Council for State Administrators for Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) and the National Council for Independent Living (NCIL). The new project will allow collaborators to create new knowledge based on best practices that can be translated to significant use at individual and systems levels.

"This is a new area of focus for BBI," says BBI CEO Michael Morris, the project's co-principal investigator. "I'm very proud of the team that came together with me to conceptualize this program of research and policy development, expanding on other employment-related research of BBI. We look forward to working with all of our new partners on this project to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities nationwide."

"BBI has a unique opportunity to provide important leadership to benefit persons with disabilities and family members as well as employers and other important target audiences including state VR directors, counselors, assistive technology practitioners, and AT supporters and manufacturers," says Marcia Scherer, project co-PI and director of the Institute for Matching Person and Technology.

"Michael Morris' leadership and vision for this project has enabled BBI to assemble a world class team," says BBI Chairman Peter Blanck. "The expertise of our team will allow us to leverage resources and collaborate with partners on and off campus to have impact on the economic well-being of individuals with disabilities. It's Scholarship in Action at its best."

BBI fosters public-private dialogue to advance the civic, economic and social participation of persons with disabilities in a global society. The institute takes its name from Burton Blatt (1927-85), a pioneer in humanizing services for people with mental retardation, a staunch advocate of deinstitutionalization and a national leader in special education. BBI currently has offices in Syracuse, New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Tel Aviv. For more information, visit For additional information on the project, contact Morris at, or at (202) 296-2046.

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