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U.S. Department of Education Awards More Than $35 Million to Develop Personnel in Support of Children with Disabilities

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The U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has awarded more than $35 million in funding for 138 new awards supporting personnel preparation, ongoing professional learning, and leadership development to increase the number of well-prepared, diverse and effective personnel serving children with disabilities.

OSEP’s Personnel Development Program, authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part D, funds activities that recruit, prepare, and retain personnel who serve and support infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families. Personnel include early intervention providers; teachers; related services providers; administrators leading early intervention programs, schools, or local and state agencies; and university faculty who are preparing future generations of personnel to serve children with disabilities.

“Investing in the preparation and professional development of a strong, diverse workforce to serve children with disabilities is critical, not only to the well-being of individuals with disabilities, but to improve outcomes for all children. Special educators, early intervention providers, and related services providers are essential professionals in our schools, early childhood programs, and communities, but far too many states are struggling to hire qualified personnel in these roles,” said Glenna Wright-Gallo, assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. “The Department is working to Raise the Bar by improving learning conditions for all children through uplifting the teaching profession and eliminating personnel shortages. OSEP’s Personnel Development Program grants play a key role in meeting this challenge by helping develop well trained, fully credentialed personnel who have the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully serve children with disabilities and their families.”

Data released in 2022 from the National Center for Education Statistics revealed 45% of U.S. public schools operated without a full teaching staff in October 2022, and special education teaching positions had the highest vacancy rates.

The 126 personnel preparation grants awarded require universities to use at least 65% of the federal funds for “scholar support,” which includes scholarships, tuition and fees, or other support to cover the costs required to complete the preparation program.

Additionally, 11 awards support personnel development through preservice program improvement grants, and one award funds a new national center to support school and early intervention program administrators to effectively implement the IDEA and improve systems serving children with disabilities.

Federal funds are awarded annually to support five-year grant projects. The following table identifies this year’s grants, grant title, number of new awards made for federal fiscal year 2023 (FFY 23), the funding level for FFY 23 and the five-year total funding.

 

84.325 Grant Programs

Title

Number of New Awards for 2023

Funding from FFY 23 Funds

5-Year Total Funding

84.325D

Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel (Doctoral Preparation)

20

$8,532,569

$47,059,059

84.325K

Preparation of Early Intervention and Special Education Personnel Serving Children With Disabilities Who Have High-Intensity Needs

41

$8,870,090

$48,288,334

84.325M

Personnel Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Personnel at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, and Other Minority Serving Institutions

34

$6,589,389

$40,395,227

84.325R

Preparation of Related Services Personnel Serving Children With Disabilities Who Have High-Intensity Needs

31

$6,338,229

$36,328,194

84.325N

Associate Degree Preservice Program Improvement Grants to Support Personnel Working with Young Children with Disabilities

11

$2,072,412

$10,138,594

84.325Z

National Center for Supporting School Building and Early Intervention Program Administrators To Effectively Implement IDEA and Improve Systems Serving Children With Disabilities

1

$3,000,000

$15,000,000

Total 84.325 Awards and Funding

 

138

$35,402,689

$197,209,408

 

Learn more about the 84.325 program and this year’s award recipients here.

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