SCSU Partnership to Strengthen Disaster Preparedness and Prevention | Education

South Carolina State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are partnering for a Disaster Preparedness and Prevention (DPP) grant.

Lead researcher Dr. Cassandra Sligh-Conway, a professor in the SC State Department of Social Services, will use the $750,000 grant to gradually develop response preparedness plans.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE) grant aims to increase the knowledge and skills of public vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies that help people with disabilities find employment.

Some specific objectives include conducting a comprehensive review of effective strategies and best practices that lead to the employment of people with disabilities; and providing targeted training and technical assistance to state virtual reality agencies, among other initiatives.

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Target areas for the DPP grant include outreach to African Americans, faith communities, and best practices for working with bias-related consumers and counselors.

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The grant focuses on select areas of South Carolina, including surrounding areas near Orangeburg.

Local trainers will serve as liaisons between selected churches, local emergency management agencies, and agencies providing services to the community.

Selected local coordinators (trainers) will assist Sligh-Conway; Dr. Jacques Days, AME Seventh Episcopal District Health Director; New Bethel AME Church pastor Dr. Elaine Eskew and the Ministry of Health team developed a network of local volunteers with varying skills who would train and prepare to serve in the event of a disaster or health emergency.

Grant activities include topic presenters; a mini-training focusing on disaster preparedness and prevention; community engagement, pre-conference sessions, partnering with local and state emergency management agencies to prepare for and, if necessary, respond to health emergencies and natural or man-made disasters.

A mini-conference will take place on March 17. The event is free, but registration is required at

Sligh-Conway works with Eskew and Days to improve communications between agencies like South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation and others with consumers during disasters.

This grant is hosted by the Department of Social Services at South Carolina State University Rehabilitation Program. $5.99 for the first month

For more information about the grant, contact Dr. Cassandra Sligh-Conway at [email protected]