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Department of Rehabilitation Counseling receives $1.75 million in DOE grants

Faculty from the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling. The department has received two grants for a combined $1.75 million from the U.S. Department of Education.

Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) Department of Rehabilitation Counseling has recently received two five-year U.S. Department of Education (DOE) grants, totaling $1.75 million, to help address a nationwide shortage of rehabilitation counseling professionals.

The grants, through the DOE's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, will pay for tuition, stipends and professional development activities, such as attending and presenting at conferences, for students in the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling (MSRC) program, which is offered fully online.

The first grant, for $749,000, will address a shortage of rehabilitation counselors providing services for the deaf and hard of hearing. The second, for nearly $1 million, will address shortages in rural areas.

“The grants will prepare candidates from our rehabilitation counseling program to work with those in underrepresented groups who need vocational rehabilitation,” said Dr. Yolanda Edwards, department chair and program coordinator of the MSRC program. “Both programs’ tracks are designed to increase the number of qualified rehabilitation counselors available to meet the staff needs of the state vocational rehabilitation agencies in our region.”

WSSU offers one of only three programs in the nation that focuses on training rehabilitation counselors to work with deaf and the hard of hearing population. The program is directed by Dr. Robin Dock.

Since the program is the only deaf and hard of hearing rehabilitation counseling program in Southeast, WSSU is well-positioned to increase the quality of future rehabilitation counselors for the Southeast region, Edwards said.

A U.S. DOE grant launched WSSU's rural rehabilitation program in 2008.

WSSU’s program has a strong reputation throughout the Southeast, with more than 300 graduates over the past 15 years. Edwards said 95% of students are employed before graduation by state vocational rehabilitation services or other qualifying agencies.

Department of Rehabilitation Counseling is part of the School of Health Sciences, an ethnically diverse school that embraces health equity in education, research and service. 

Students who are interested in rehabilitation counseling can apply through gradapply.wssu.edu with classes starting in summer and fall 2020. For more information, please visit the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling website.

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

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