U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced that following their push, the recently-passed government funding package includes $81.5 million in funding for the Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), an increase of $2 million from FY20 funding levels. An additional $11 million in funding for NTID was secured in the latest COVID-19 emergency relief package.
NTID provides a college education to deaf and hard-of-hearing students from around the country and gives them the skills and training they need to find jobs and advance their careers. Federal funding allows NTID to invest in critical areas such as instruction, sign language, and captioning services. The funding will also help NTID develop programs for those who have been laid off or negatively impacted by the pandemic and provide resources to help them re-enter the workforce in a post-pandemic economy. With increased funding, NTID will be able to provide aid grants for students, reduce the costs of receiving a degree, and propose new technical programs that offer specialized training for employment in high-tech industries.
“Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf is one of the premier schools in the country for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and has a phenomenal track record of preparing students for life after school,” said Senator Schumer. “I worked tirelessly in the Senate to secure this critical funding for the NTID, both in the end-of-year package and in the latest COVID relief package, and will keep fighting on behalf of this top-notch organization so that it can continue adding to the local economy and creating a brighter future for the thousands of students who walk through its doors each year.”
“The National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester plays a uniquely important role in ensuring our deaf and hard-of-hearing students have every opportunity to receive a quality education and secure good-paying jobs after they graduate,” said Senator Gillibrand. “In the midst of this unprecedented public health and economic crisis, these additional resources are critical to continue providing career opportunities for New York’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community. NTID remains one of the world’s great destinations for deaf and hard-of-hearing students and I’m proud to deliver this funding.”
“We are very appreciative of Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand’s efforts to provide additional pandemic-related relief funding for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf,” said RIT President David Munson. “NTID is a vital national educational resource for the deaf and hard of hearing community, and this funding will help RIT and NTID to address the financial as well as health and safety needs of our deaf student population through the pandemic.”
One of nine colleges within RIT, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf was founded in 1965 as the first and largest technological college in the world for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. NTID provides academic programs to more than 1,100 deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and sponsors research designed to enhance the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing people. The college also provides support to hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing students to cross-register in other RIT programs.
Gillibrand and Schumer have long fought for funding increases for NTID. In 2018, the senators helped secure more than $77.5 million for the NTID as part of the FY 2019 education appropriations bill and $73 million for the NTID as part of the FY 2018 omnibus bill.