Campus: CSU Northridge -- June 28, 2001

CSUN Awarded $5 Million to Work with the Deaf

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Cal State Northridge's National Center on Deafness a $5 million five-year contract to help deaf and hard-of-hearing students make the transition to college and then into the workforce.

The money will expand work already being done by the center's Western Region Outreach Center and Consortia (WROCC). The WROCC works with colleges, universities, state departments of education, vocational agencies and high schools to make the transitions to college and the workforce take place as seamlessly as possible.

"This award will provide more and better opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing people in all kinds of postsecondary educational institutions, including trade and technical schools, community colleges, rehabilitation centers and colleges and universities," said Merri Pearson, director of the National Center on Deafness.

The contract comes specifically from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

The WROCC works at the institutional level to ensure most colleges and universities are prepared to serve the needs of students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.

The WROCC serves the states and territories of Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Marianas Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The WROCC will work with three other regional centers, that have also been awarded contracts by the U.S. Department of Education, to coordinate a national effort to improve access to higher education and provide better quality educational experiences for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Founded in 1964 as an expression of the deep commitment by Cal State Northridge to meet the educational needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing students, the National Center on Deafness has helped more than 2,500 people graduate.

The center provides sign language interpreting and other specialized services to nearly 300 deaf students, serving the largest university population of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the western United States.

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