Institute Receives Nearly $1 Million Grant to Improve Transition for Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities

From left to right Susan Hetherington Tom Golisano Ann Costello and Martha MockThe Golisano Foundation has awarded a three-year grant of $960,000 to the Institute for Innovative Transition at the University of Rochester to continue and expand its work to improve transition outcomes and experiences for students and young adults with developmental disabilities as they shift from school to the adult world.

The Institute for Innovative Transition (now the Center for Disability and Education) was founded in 2008 with an initial two-year grant of $600,000 from the Golisano Foundation, is a partnership of the University of Rochester’s Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities and Warner School of Education and the Golisano Foundation. This is the Golisano Foundation’s signature project and largest single gift given annually.

The Institute’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and their families as they transition from school age to adulthood by acting as conveners, collaborators, and educators in the region.

The new grant will allow the Institute to increase its support in transition by providing more information and assistance to young adults with developmental disabilities; coordinating three job training sites at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), City of Rochester, and Wegmans; training adult service providers and teachers; working with state agencies on transition policy improvements; and expanding its Web site to include a college database for students with developmental disabilities, online communities of practice, and a blog.

“We thank the Golisano Foundation for the past two years of support and for partnering with us to improve the quality of life for adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities and their families,” says Martha Mock, director of the Institute for Innovative Transition and assistant professor at the Warner School and URMC’s Department of Pediatrics. “The lessons learned from these two years and the relationships developed have helped us to create a vision for the next three years that will signal a new age in transition for young adults and their families.”
Project SEARCH
The Institute has reached over 2,000 people through training, professional development, information dissemination, and referrals over the past two years. This past year, a partnership among several local agencies and funding from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) and VESID has allowed the Institute to launch Rochester’s very first Project SEARCH, a high school transition program providing employment training and education to 18- to 21-year-olds with developmental disabilities. Project SEARCH is directed and led by Susan Hetherington, assistant professor at the Warner School and URMC’s Department of Pediatrics.

The Institute also launched a new Think College NY! initiative to conduct statewide planning for inclusive postsecondary education options for students with developmental disabilities. This initiative recently convened over 250 people from across New York State to develop a statewide plan for students with developmental disabilities to attend college.

Mock adds, “We are committed to engaging with local, regional and statewide providers and agencies who work in transition every day. Through these commitments and with the continued support of the Golisano Foundation we will truly be ‘Transforming Transition through Programs, Policy, and Practice.’”

Learn more about the Center for Disability and Education.

Read Rochester Business Journal Q4 Feature.

Link to the Democrat and Chronicle Article: 

Contact: Theresa Danylak

Tags: Golisano Foundation, Institute for Innovative Transition, Martha Mock, Susan Hetherington, transition