GAERF 2006 Grants Support Industry Outreach
RESTON, Va.—A new program designed to deliver graphic communications career information to deaf and hard-of-hearing students is among the recipients of more than $160,000 in new grants announced recently by the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF).
The 2006 grant program will fund projects that span all levels of the educational community, bringing the total funding distributed by the foundation since its inception to over $4.6 million.
"The diversity of the programs being funded by GAERF is a strong message in and of itself," says GAERF Chairman Randolph W. Camp, CEO of Walton Media Services in Monroe, Georgia. "Our industry is marshalling an extraordinary amount of talent and energy to promote career commitments and improve skills at every level, and GAERF is making a major contribution to this effort."
The program serving deaf students is being implemented by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), which describes itself as "the world's first and largest technological college for deaf and hard of hearing students." GAERF's grant supports the first year of a planned three-year effort. This inaugural year will focus on development of an interactive web site that will give students easy access to knowledge about careers in graphic communications, an online inventory of career materials, interactive and individual online advising, information about accessible post-secondary technical education programs, and other resources.
This audience "tends to get lost in the cracks in terms of having access to meaningful information about graphic communications," says RIT faculty member Thomas Raco, who is directing the program. Raco notes that web site design for deaf and hard of hearing students must take into account their career maturity level and language capabilities.
In the program's first year, Raco says considerable effort will be devoted to developing the functionality of the web site as well as identifying—and sometimes modifying—other sites that may be appropriate links. "We