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University of Maryland announces new center for students with disabilities

A new center at the University of Maryland that was unveiled Monday will help young people with disabilities as they move from an educational setting into the workforce.

The Center for Transition and Career Innovation for Youth With Disabilities will be housed at Maryland’s College of Education and directed by two researchers, according to a news release.

“We know what it takes to help students with disabilities become successful as adults,” said Richard Luecking, one of the researchers involved in the center. “We just don’t know how to apply it universally, to all students, with any disability. The center will be able to understand the circumstances where we could make that happen, across the board.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and the university on Monday announced the creation of the center, which is expected to serve those with physical and intellectual disabilities.

“Maryland is committed to improving the lives of people with disabilities, and this new initiative at UMD will help increase employment and promote economic self-sufficiency for young people with disabilities,” Hogan said in the news release.

Luecking described the center as a partnership between the university and government agencies, focused on the transition of youths with disabilities from school to work.

“We want to advance the expectation that any youth, with any disability, can achieve employment and careers,” Luecking said. “So the purpose of the center is to study those things that are likely to make that happen.”

The center’s goals include partnering with state agencies to develop a database on services that help students transition to the workforce and conducting research into how young people with disabilities can achieve successful careers, according to the news release.

“We want to find out what happens to students in Maryland after they exit school, and we want to find out why,” Luecking said. “That’s what the database is all about. That will help the state craft policy that will make it more likely for students with disabilities to transition from school to employment and adult life successfully.”

By Sarah Larimer

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