UH Manoa Center on Disability Studies Receives $2.5 Million Grant to Establish a National Technical Assistance Center

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Shawn Nakamoto, (808) 956-9095
University and Community Relations
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
University and Community Relations
Posted: Jan 25, 2002

The University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa‘s Center on Disability Studies has been awarded a $2.5 million federal grant from the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Education to establish the National Technical Assistance Center for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders with Disabilities.

Dr. Robert A. Stodden, director of the UH Manoa Center on Disability Studies and principal investigator for the grant, will oversee the administration and coordination of activities of national networks for the center to assure outcomes of increased employment of persons with disabilities from Asian American and Pacific Islander backgrounds. Co-investigators on the project include Mark Obatake, executive director of the Hawaiʻi Center for Independent Living, and Neil Shim, vocational rehabilitation administrator of the Hawaiʻi Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division.

"We are excited about reaching out to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities throughout the country," Stodden said. "We want to better identify and address their specific needs concerning employment and community living across the nation."

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are one of the fastest growing minorities in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, this group has experienced a 57 percent increase in population from 1990 to 1999, proportionately more than any other minority group in the country. In addition, a current projection portends the total number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at 34 million by the year 2050 — nine percent of the total U.S. population.

The National Technical Assistance Center is designed to address Congressional concerns regarding inequitable treatment of culturally and linguistically diverse portions of the U.S. population within the vocational rehabilitation process. It will focus on increasing employment outcomes by expanding and improving provisions for rehabilitation and other services for persons with disabilities who are of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent.

The Center will build technical assistance capacity through the participation of partners formalized within a National Advisory Board and four National Technical Assistance Networks. The networks will target states and communities nationwide that include recent immigrant populations living in extreme urban and rural areas in need of culturally appropriate technical assistance regarding civil rights, education and employment opportunities, and disability-related services.

The Center on Disability Studies was established in 1988 at UH Manoa and is part of a national network of University Centers for Excellence in Disabilities focused upon education, research and services. Center officials work to support the quality of life, community inclusion, and self-determination of all persons with disabilities and their families, which is accomplished through training, service, research, demonstration, evaluation and dissemination activities in Hawaiʻi, the Pacific Region, and the U.S. mainland.

Center on Disability Studies contacts:

Dr. Robert Stodden, Director of the Center on Disability Studies
Phone: (808) 956-9119
E-mail: stodden@hawaii.edu

Dr. Weol Soon Kim-Rupnow, Director of the National Technical Assistance Center for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders with Disabilities
Phone: (808) 956-5048
E-mail: kimrupno@hawaii.edu