Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State has received a $32.5 million award from the U.S. Department of Education to improve the education and career outcomes for more than 2,000 children with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in Western New York, Capital Region and New York City. This funding will allow the State to implement NYS PROMISE, as part of the Obama Administrations Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) initiative.
Under NYS PROMISE, New York State is joining with non-profit organizations and Cornell University to build a brighter future for thousands of disadvantaged New York children, Governor Cuomo said. This federal grant will allow us to put NYS PROMISE into action, giving low-income children with disabilities and their families the resources they need to thrive not only in the classroom, but also in society and the workplace. This program will help put this young, vulnerable population on a path towards independence and success.
The PROMISE initiative was proposed by the Obama Administration to improve the provision and coordination of services for child SSI recipients and their families. New Yorks NYS PROMISE initiative will help child recipients achieve better outcomes, including graduating from high school, completing postsecondary education and job training, and obtaining competitive employment in an integrated setting. As a result, these child SSI recipients can achieve long-term reductions of reliance on SSI.
This federal grant will serve more than 2,000 New York children with disabilities who receive SSI and are between the ages of 14 and 16, as well as their families. NYS PROMISE will be implemented across three diverse geographic areas which represent a strong sample of rural, suburban and urban areas in New York State: Western New York, the Capital Region, and New York City. Many of these services will be provided by three "Parent Centers" within those regions: The Parent Network of Western New York, The Parent Network of the Capital Region, and Resources For Children with Special Needs in New York City.
In addition to these Parent Centers, a network comprised of local school districts within these three regions and up to 50 additional provider organizations will be utilized to provide direct services to children and families under NYS PROMISE. These include: Community Rehabilitation organizations that will provide employment services and vocational rehabilitation; Literacy Zone organizations that will provide literacy, financial literacy and budgetary training services; and Independent Living Centers that will provide services related to benefits planning, peer supports and independent living skills. Funding will be distributed to these organizations based on the impact they have on ensuring that children with disabilities and their respective families have the support necessary for success and independence.
With the assistance of the Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations Schools Employment and Disability Institute, the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. (RFMH) applied for this grant, which OMH will administer over the next five years. The NYS PROMISE approach is based on a nationally-informed, systems-focused, and locally-based model of partnership with local non-profit providers. NYS PROMISE will seek to provide youth and their families with services and supports that will assist in their overall financial self-sufficiency.
For example, youth will have the opportunity to receive assistance in learning key "soft skills" to assist them in becoming employed and can receive specific skill training on the job. Families of the youth will receive education, training, and counseling focused on empowering their child to succeed in school, work, and society.
New York State Office of Mental Health Acting Commissioner John V. Tauriello said, Individuals with a disability, be it a physical or mental disability, deserve a fair shot at becoming financially self-sufficient. By helping children and families gain the skills they need to succeed in school and at the workplace, we are improving their ability to have successful lives, while expanding the benefits that educated and employed individuals bring to their society.
New York State Department of Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said, Students need all the support they can get to succeed in school and lead healthy, productive lives. This grant will help low income students with disabilities get the support they need do well in school and make successful transitions to college and careers.
Dr. Susanne M. Bruyre, Director of Cornell Universitys Employment and Disability Institute said, The Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University is tremendously pleased to have this extraordinary opportunity to partner with the New York State Office of Mental Health and other state agencies on this very exciting initiative. As a land grant college, our commitment to New York State runs deep and long, and we are pleased to be able to contribute Cornells significant research and disability-focused expertise in this project, testing new approaches and innovations for supporting the successful post high school transitions of youth who receive Supplemental Security Income, and as a result creating new pathways to financial and community independence.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, These federal funds for the NYS PROMISE initiative can transform the lives of students with disabilities in New York State. With this partnership between local nonprofits, state agencies and universities, children with disabilities and their families will have the recourses they need to follow their dreams, whether that means graduating from high school, completing a job training program or moving on to higher education.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, This is an important federal investment for the future of our students and communities. All our students need the tools and resources to succeed and get on a path to achieve their full God-given potential. This will go a long way to help students with disabilities gain the education and training necessary to achieve financial independence and a bright future.
Congressman Charlie Rangel said, I am pleased that we are providing funding to serve thousands of children who most need our attention to excel in and outside of school. Once again, Governor Cuomo is leading the nation in effectively enacting the President's forward-thinking policies. This is an outstanding example of strategic collaboration of the federal and local governments supporting private-public partnerships to invest in the future of our children and our nation.
Congressman Joe Crowley said, Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed in life, and this grant will help ensure that young New Yorkers with disabilities have the tools and resources they need to fulfill their educational and professional goals. Im thrilled New York has received this grant, which will have a real, positive impact on many low-income families across our state.
Congressman Brian Higgins said, A good education is a fundamental opportunity that should be made available to all students. These funds will go a long way toward making sure that all New York students have the ability to have a successful future.
Congressman Paul Tonko said, A strong education is the foundation of a good life, and we must come together to help those who need it to have the same opportunity as everyone else. This program will help New Yorkers with disabilities receive a solid education with the patience and care they require. During my time in the New York State Assembly, fighting for mental health parity was a top priority of mine, and I continue to fight for these concerns in Congress. I am glad that Governor Cuomo and his team continue to focus on this very important issue.