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College of Education Center on Disability Studies (CDS) Associate Specialist Holly Manaseri (PI) and CDS Associate Director Maya Matheis (CoPI) received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Over the next five years, the Hawaiʻi Inclusive Early Childhood Professional Preparation Project (HI-Pro) will support state-identified needs for personnel preparation to work with children, including infants, toddlers, and youth with disabilities.

“Funding of the 325N projects by OSEP strengthens support to the professionals who will work with young children with disabilities in inclusive settings,” Manaseri said. “We are thrilled to be working with our community college partners to ensure all young children with disabilities have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs and personnel are well prepared to meet the needs of Hawaiiʻi’s diverse children and families.”

Funded through the USDOE Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program over the next five years, HI-PRO will work to ensure that personnel have the necessary skills and knowledge from successful evidence-based practices and to facilitate collaboration between four-year institutions of higher education and community colleges to increase the number of associate degree program graduates who enter bachelor’s degree programs.

HI-PRO will partner with Leeward Community College, Hawaiʻi Community College, and Maui Community College to support faculty in designing and delivering curricula that prepares associate degree students to work with young children with disabilities and their families, including those who are multilingual and from racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse populations. They will also partner with the Pathways Hui Project to support pathways to increase the number of graduates who enter bachelor’s degree programs.

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