VERMILLION, S.D. (KCAU) — The University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences has received over $1 million from the Department of Education.

The funds are to address South Dakota’s early childhood intervention needs and train personnel to serve infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

The project, “Program for Advancing Childhood Early Intervention (PACE) Scholars Program: Developing an Early Intervention, Related Services Workforce,” will implement a targeted training program to prepare 37 PACE scholars over the course of the five-year grant period.

The scholar’s program collaborates with USD’s Center for Disabilities Leadership in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND) traineeship program and draws support from the Center’s LEND framework.

“The PACE Scholars Program will bolster important South Dakota workforce development efforts through its financial support of occupational, physical, and speech therapy students, as well as student audiologists,” explained the scholarship’s Program Director, Patti Berg-Poppe, Ph.D., MPT.

“PACE Scholars will enter early childhood intervention positions ready to practice and prepared to provide excellent, family-centered care for infants and toddlers who have disabilities with high intensity needs.”