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ESU receives more than $1M in grant for rehabilitation counseling

Emporia State University has received a grant from the Department of Education/ Rehabilitation Services Administration to train vocational rehabilitation professionals whose goals are to help individuals with disabilities prepare for and find meaningful work.

Through the grant, Emporia State’s counselor education department will support students with tuition, training, and professional development. The grant begins immediately and will run through Sept. 30, 2025.

“The new grant award will allow ESU to graduate 22 qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors over the next five years,” said Dr. Damara Goff Paris, associate professor and project director of the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) grants at ESU.

Applicants who are accepted into the program will receive online instruction leading to a master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation counseling.

The grant aims to address shortages in professional services for people needing rehabilitation services in the Midwest region. As one of the a few universities in the nation offering a fully online master’s degree format in rehabilitation counseling, ESU’s program aims to reach rural areas where it is difficult to access rehabilitation education and training.

The grant awarded is for $1,253,877, with $889,139 (71%) provided by federal funding through the U.S. Department of Education, and the remaining $364,688 (29%), provided by ESU.

Individuals interested in pursuing the master’s degree in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling have until Nov. 13 to apply to be part of the Spring 2021 cohort through Students from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma have selection priority, however, interested parties from other states are highly encouraged to apply.

“This is the fifth grant our program has written, and the fourth grant that we have secured since 2014, bringing in over $4 million in funds to support students in our program over the past six years,” Paris said. ”The writing team who contributed to this grant competition were myself, Dr. Katrina Miller, and Dr. Danielle Nimako, with support from Sara Andres, our graduate administrative assistant.”

Emporia State University’s Department of Counselor Education has a strong identity in the region, educating more than 560 rehabilitation counselors over a span of more than 50 years.

The rehabilitation counseling master’s degree program at ESU is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In 1999, ESU was the first university in Kansas to move courses into the digital environment; by 2003 the rehabilitation counseling program had established an online presence, and the full rehabilitation counseling curriculum became available online in 2014.