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Release: Oct. 9, 2001

Law disability research center nets $1.5 million grant

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center (LHPDC) at the University of Iowa College of Law a five-year, $1,500,000 grant.

Titled "IT Works," the project’s goal is to help reduce the shortage of trained IT (information technology) workers and increase the employment of individuals with disabilities.

UI Law Professor Peter Blanck is director of the LHPDC and principal investigator.

According to Blanck, "There is a dramatic demand for, and a shortage of, trained IT workers. Research shows that the percentage of working-age individuals with disabilities in full- or part-time positions is substantially lower than the percentage of working-age people without a disability."

Grant partners include co-investigator David Dawson, the coordinator of the Iowa Center for Assistive Technology and Educational Resources at the UI College of Education, which is a key collaborator; and Kevin Schartz, a research scientist at the LHPDC as a co-investigator; and the Information Technology Association of America.

Over the next five years, the center will identify factors helpful to the hiring, retention, and advancement of individuals with disabilities in IT jobs. Training activities will be conducted to distribute the research findings to diverse target audiences, including employers, IT trainers and professionals, persons with disabilities in diverse employment settings, Centers for Independent Living, other researchers, and relevant policymakers.

The IT Works grant is 100 percent funded by U.S. Department of Education grant number H133A011803.

The Law, Health Policy and Disability Center also is a partner of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workforce Investment and Employment Policy for People with Disabilities. For more information on this and other Center projects, see http://www.its.uiowa.edu/law.