About the Center on Disability Studies

CDS is a federally funded University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) which is part of a national network. The US Department of Health & Human Services provides funding for UCEDDs which are based on 5-year cycles.

At the beginning of each cycle, CDS leadership and staff identify goals and activities intended to improve the lives of people with disabilities in HI. In 2022, CDS staff began work on identifying the goals for fiscal years 2023-2028. Staff conducted a needs assessment with individuals, constituents and agencies across Hawaii regarding the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Focus Area 1


CDS is committed to advancing policy, practice, and services with and for individuals of all ages with developmental disabilities, their families, and communities. We will Improve access to and success in all levels of education for individuals with disabilities and other disabilities as measured by the number of trainees being served and change in their attitudes, behavior, knowledge, and skills. Click here to learn more about Education.

Focus Area 2


Employment enables individuals with disabilities to participate more fully in their communities and become contributing members of our society. The employment rate for people with disabilities has remained persistently and disproportionately below the rate for individuals without disabilities for decades, despite significant effort at the local, state and federal level. CDS strives to create a system of support that makes competitive, integrated employment a reality for all people with disabilities in Hawaii. Through community collaborations and partnerships, training and technical assistance, and policy and advocacy efforts, CDS works to ensure people with disabilities can secure and maintain employment opportunities in their community. Click here to learn more about Employment.