Center on Disability Studies Receives $6.9 Million

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The Center on Disability Studies (CDS) in the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has been awarded nearly $7 million by the U.S. Department of Education. The funding will go toward serving diverse populations, including Native Hawaiian, deaf-blind, at-risk, English language learners and economically disadvantaged, in five CDS programs over the next three to five years.

PC: UH Mānoa

“These grants make us very proud,” CDS Director Patricia Morrissey said. “They will help us serve the underserved, build capacity and partnerships across the state and support young people with disabilities to realize their quests for bright futures.”

Funding breakdown:

  • Project Ho‘oku‘i III: Na Kumu Alaka‘i—$2.1 million
  • Postsecondary Support Project Increasing the Success of Native Hawaiian Youth with Culturally Responsive Coaching—$2.1 million
  • Neʻepapa Ka Hana 2.0—$950,000
  • The Hawaiʻi Family Engagement Center—$990,000
  • The Hawai‘i and Pacific Deaf Blind Consortium—$785,000

Project Ho‘oku‘i III: Na Kumu Alaka‘i addresses the needs of at-risk children and youth and the underemployment of Native Hawaiians. The  goal is to increase enrollment of Native Hawaiian students in postsecondary education or certification programs, which leads to employment. This is done through implementation of a professional development program designed for Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) faculty based on the previous Project Hoʻokuʻi model.


Postsecondary Support Project Increasing the Success of Native Hawaiian Youth with Culturally Responsive Coaching will work with the UH Community Colleges to enhance and expand a successful support model that addresses the needs of Native Hawaiian youth who are at risk of failure in postsecondary education and to realize improved employment outcomes. The program is anticipated to impact nearly 2,000 Native Hawaiians by facilitating access and reducing the probability of failure and dropout of postsecondary education.

Ne‘epapa Ka Hana 2.0: Expanding Native Hawaiian Student Access and Teacher Training from Middle School Mathematics to the STEM Workforce will develop socio-culturally responsive project-based learning curricula for sixth and seventh grade; field-test and refine the curricula; train 40 teachers on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, Maui and Moloka‘i; and disseminate materials statewide.

The Hawaiʻi Family Engagement Center is working to build the capacity of every community in Hawai‘i to develop and sustain strong, productive relationships among schools, parents and community organizations so children thrive developmentally and academically statewide by partnering with community groups and HIDOE.


The Hawai‘i and Pacific Deaf Blind Consortium will address the diverse needs of individuals with deaf-blindness in the state and Pacific through technical assistance and dissemination by increasing knowledge, skills and support for families and service providers related to deaf-blindness.

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