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$5 Million Grant to MU Will Continue ADA Services for Four-State Area

The Great Plains ADA Center at MU receives its sixth consecutive five-year federal grant

September 14th, 2016

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Great Plains ADA Center, housed in the Department of Architectural Studies at the University of Missouri, has received a new $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund the center through 2021. This is the Great Plains ADA Center’s sixth consecutive five-year grant from the federal government to provide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulatory guidance and resources in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Great Plains ADA Center staff serve as consultants, trainers and resource providers for all people, businesses, organizations and government entities with questions or problems regarding all areas of ADA and related disability laws in the four-state region.

“This grant will allow us to continue to provide cutting-edge training, education and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act in the Great Plains region and beyond,” said Jim De Jong, director of the Great Plains ADA Center. “The ADA is constantly evolving with the advent of new technologies, equipment and the advancement of medical practices. We’re here to help people, businesses and governmental systems understand the law. The ADA embodies the American spirit of inclusive opportunity for all individuals and their families while offering an expanded customer base for business and reflects society’s demographics within educational settings. We are proud to be a beacon of Mizzou values and practice to Missouri and America.”

Including funding staffing for the Great Plains ADA Center, the $5 million grant, which begins Sept. 29, will support two research projects and the center’s annual national ADA symposium. The first research project will include a survey of all city and county officials within the Great Plains region to measure the level of understanding of ADA regulations among those officials as well as to determine the different ADA services each local government in the region offers. Staff from the Great Plains ADA Center will use the data to determine how ADA knowledge and services can be improved throughout the region.

The second research project to be funded by the new grant will consist of evaluating ADA education methods to determine which methods of education and training are most effective among all ADA stakeholders. This research will include education through the annual national symposium organized by the Great Plains ADA Center as well as a national certification program for state ADA coordinators around the country.

“We are absolutely thrilled the Great Plains ADA Center will continue to promote diversity and inclusion across the Midwest with this competitive grant,” said Ruth Tofle, chair of the MU Department of Architectural Studies. “In addition to their amazing work helping people throughout the Great Plains region, the center provides a valuable resource for the Mizzou campus. We have national experts close at hand who care about access for persons with disabilities and are eager to lead as gold star mentors. All campus programs and facilities will benefit from their expertise.”

The $5 million grant is provided by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research under the Administration for Community Living within the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services. The MU Department of Architectural Studies resides within the College of Human Environmental Sciences.