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8/12/2022 Speaker Shekarchi, Sen. Lawson laud $3 million federal grant for Paul V. Sherlock Center for Disabilities

Speaker Shekarchi, Sen. Lawson, RI congressional delegation on hand to announce the award  

Providence, RI – The Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College announced today that it has been awarded a five-year, $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). House Speaker Joe Shekarchi, Senate Deputy Majority Leader Valarie Lawson and the four members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation – Sen. Jack Reed, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. James Langevin and Rep. David Cicilline – attended a Friday afternoon press conference at Rhode Island College (RIC) to announce the award, alongside Dr. Amy Grattan, executive director of the Sherlock Center; Dr. Jack R. Warner, interim president at RIC.


The award is a result of the renewal of the Sherlock Center’s designation as a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Education, Research and Service. HHS awards these grants to at least one UCEDD in every state to work with people with disabilities, members of their families, state and local government agencies, and community providers on projects that provide training, technical assistance, service, research and information sharing, with a focus on building the capacity of communities to sustain all their citizens. The Sherlock Center is Rhode Island’s UCEDD.


The Sherlock Center will use the grant to support work around five areas: early childhood, school and community inclusion, transition into adult life, self-determination and technology. Examples of this work include training early intervention providers and direct support personnel; researching how individuals with disabilities access and use technology; providing technical assistance to local service providers and state agencies; providing services to students with dual sensory impairments and their families; training of interdisciplinary pre-service professionals; and disseminating information that supports the disability community to have up to date information on resources and evidence based practices. The work is informed by feedback from members of the disability community, their families and state and community providers.

 “It is great news that the U.S. Department of Human Services has awarded this grant to the Sherlock Center,” said Speaker Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick). “The dedication and advocacy for the Sherlock Center students is inspiring. That’s why the legislature created a task force that is currently working on a permanent solution to the future funding of the Vision Education Services Program that is housed at the center to develop a long-term strategy and plan for the state’s services for blind and visually impaired students.”

 “Today’s announcement is so important because it will help make Rhode Island a better, more inclusive and more accessible place,” said Senator Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence). “It will help improve the lives of Rhode Islanders living with disabilities, as well as their loved ones and neighbors. It is our shared duty to ensure that the doors of opportunity, in school and beyond, are open to all citizens, and I’m grateful to the Sherlock Center for its tireless efforts.”

“This grant represents a major investment in service and support for the disability community in Rhode Island,” said Dr. Grattan. “On behalf of the Sherlock Center and all the people we serve, I want to extend my gratitude to our congressional delegation and state leaders for their advocacy and dedication to providing our community with these vital resources.”

“This federal funding will enable the Sherlock Center to expand its reach and continue serving as a beacon of hope and expertise to create a more inclusive Rhode Island a place where every individual has the support to reach their potential and chart their own course for the future. That is the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It was the vision and life’s work of Paul Sherlock, in whose honor the center was named,” said Sen. Reed.

“Rhode Island College’s Sherlock Center is a nationally recognized hub for research, education and service in support of Rhode Island’s disability community, and this federal funding will ensure that the center has the resources to thrive for years to come,” said Sen. Whitehouse. “This funding would not be possible without the advocacy of Congressman Langevin, who has been a tireless champion for people with disabilities and for RIC, his alma mater.”

“As a person with a disability, I know how important it is for all of us to have access to the resources we need to live and work independently. Every day, the Sherlock Center is providing those resources,” said Rep. Langevin, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus. “I am so grateful for the work the Sherlock Center is doing, and I’m thrilled to celebrate the renewal of their status as a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.”

 “Congratulations to the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities and Rhode Island College on this $3 million federal investment,” said Rep. Cicilline. “Your work is critical to the education, workforce development, inclusion and success of individuals with disabilities, their families and their communities. I’m thrilled to help celebrate this grant and thank the Sherlock Center for the continued work offering offer key services, programs and supports to Rhode Islanders over the next five years.”

“The Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities is a valuable resource for Rhode Island’s disability community and we are proud to have it here at Rhode Island College,” said Dr. Warner. “It was founded here in 1993 and it remains a bedrock institution for the many Rhode Islanders who rely on the services, research and information it provides.”

About the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities: The Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College was founded in 1993 with a mission to promote membership for all in school, work and the community. The center partners with state and national agencies, schools, institutes of higher education and community providers to offer interdisciplinary pre-service and community education, technical assistance, services, research and information. It is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD).



For more information, contact:
Larry Berman, Communications Director for the Office of the Speaker
State House Room 322
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2466