U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Congressman Joseph Morelle announced that following their push, the recently-passed government funding package includes $88.5 million in funding for the Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), an increase of $7 million from Fiscal Year 2021 funding levels.
“The National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester is one of the nation’s leading institutions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and has a phenomenal track record of preparing students for life after school,” said Senator Schumer. “As majority leader, I am proud to deliver this critical funding increase so that NTID can continue to expand their workforce training programs and give students the tools needed for a successful career. Especially as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel from this pandemic, these additional resources will ensure our deaf and hard-of-hearing community have the support needed to secure good paying jobs in key high tech industries and will lay the foundation for a brighter future for thousands of students in Rochester.”
“Visiting the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester at the beginning of their 2021 school year was a true pleasure. Since its creation, this institute has helped hard-of-hearing and deaf students not only thrive in an educational environment that meets their specific needs, but to also become leaders in key and diverse industries across our economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “That’s why I lead the annual funding request to ensure this great New York institution always has the resources they need to uphold their mission and expand their services. As a long-term advocate of NTID, I’m proud to have helped secure this nearly $90 million federal investment to help them remain one of the world’s renowned institutions for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
“We are very fortunate to have the National Technical Institute for the Deaf right here in Rochester, providing a transformative education that helps deaf and hard-of-hearing students reach their full potential,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “I am proud to have worked alongside Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to deliver this funding that will strengthen life-changing resources and opportunities for our vibrant deaf community. I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue supporting NTID and ensuring this critical institution thrives for decades to come.”
Dr. Gerald Buckley, President of NTID and RIT Vice President and Dean said, “Thanks to the leadership and advocacy of Sen. Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand, and Rep. Morelle, Congress has once again recognized the value of an NTID education with this increase. This historic investment will allow us to establish a hub for deaf and hard-of-hearing scientists and health care practitioners, enhance our efforts to provide cybersecurity training to deaf and hard-of-hearing professionals, and bolster our work in STEM-related pre-college outreach through our Regional STEM Center.”
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.
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. The college also provides support to hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing students to cross-register in other RIT programs.
Schumer, Gillibrand, and Morelle have long fought for funding increases for NTID. Last year, they secured $81.5 million in funding for the NTID as a part of the FY2021 spending bill, which was an increase of $2 million from FY20 levels. The lawmakers also secured $11 million for the NTID in COVID-19 relief through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, and $19.3 million under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Additionally, Senator Gillibrand leads the annual request to authorize more funding for NTID. This past year, Gillibrand called for nearly $90 million in funding for FY22, an $8.2 million increase from FY21.