College of Education & Human Development faculty are lending their expertise to state- and federally-funded training and evaluation programs that prepare rehabilitation counselors, school psychologists and vocational services staff to support Georgia residents with disabilities and those who need mental health services.
Rehabilitation Counselor Training Projects
CEHD faculty members Dennis Gilbride, Franco Dispenza and Cirleen DeBlaere are working on a five-year, $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration designed to train students to work with people with mental illnesses. Over the course of the grant, Gilbride, Dispenza and DeBlaere are preparing 15-18 rehabilitation counselors with a specialization in rehabilitation of people with psychiatric disorders.
Students complete internships with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) and other state agencies that help people with mental illness and other disabilities meet their employment and life goals. Students received scholarships to cover their tuition and other expenses and in return, they are required to work at a state agency or contractor following graduation.
In addition, Gilbride and Dispenza are the principal investigators on a five-year, $1 million grant from the Rehabilitation Services Administration preparing 35-40 rehabilitation counselors to fill positions in vocational rehabilitation agencies in Georgia and other states. These students complete internships with the GVRA and receive career counseling to assist them in finding appropriate employment.
MINRS School Psychologist Training Grant
Faculty members Stephen Truscott, Catherine Perkins and Joel Meyers are working on a five-year, $1.2 million training grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs for the Multi-level Interventions for Non-Responders (MINRS) project, which is preparing school psychologists to work with children with special needs who require concentrated effort and additional supports to succeed in both special and general education classrooms.
The project recruits, trains and supports students dedicated to providing behavioral and mental health services to diverse special education students who do not respond to existing school supports.
School psychology students in the MINRS project complete one-year practicums and one-year internship placements in metro Atlanta schools, where they work with an exceptional school-based mentor to provide interventions to students who need targeted mental health counseling and behavioral interventions.
Georgia Career Pathways to Work Project
Dispenza is also leading Georgia State University’s participation in Georgia’s Career Pathways to Work: Explore, Engage and Employ (E3), an evaluation of transition vocational rehabilitation services for youth living with disabilities in the state of Georgia.
The goal of the grant is to evaluate the feasibility of processes, vocational rehabilitation services, customized career pathway options, and work outcomes for students with disabilities.