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Grant supports students with learning differences

Friday, January 13, 2017

Two important projects designed to support Mercyhurst University students with learning differences just got the green light, thanks to new grant funding from the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust.

This marks the first time the university has submitted a proposal to the Pittsburgh area trust, which supports projects that benefit individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Receipt of the $22,000 grant includes $12,000 to provide students with the latest in Kurzweil Reader assistive technology, educational software designed to provide literacy support for those who struggle with reading, writing and study skills. The technology enables students of Mercyhurst’s Learning Differences Program, now in its 30th year, to keep pace with their peers and achieve their full academic potential.

Finally, a grant of $10,000 will assist students in the Career Path Program of the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) to expand their opportunities for internships and careers beyond college. The money will be used to fund four Career Path trips to New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, where eight AIM students will seek internships and open the door to employment opportunities.

The Career Path Program is the most recent component of AIM, designed to help remedy an 83.2 percent unemployment rate among those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). According to the grant proposal, “Career path training and early exploration will allow for collaboration between employers and service providers to ensure the success of AIM students."