Mercer University Program Awarded Additional $200,000 to Address Statewide Counselor Shortages

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Monday, May 13th, 2024

Mercer University’s College of Professional Advancement received a nearly $200,000 Rehabilitation Services Administration Long-Term Training (RSA LTT) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help address personnel shortages faced by vocational rehabilitation agencies in Georgia. The grant funds scholarships, professional development and additional expenses for qualifying students pursuing a M.S. degree in clinical rehabilitation counseling.

“We are honored to receive the extension of this terrific grant,” said the project’s director, Dr. Suneetha Manyam, professor of counseling. “We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the 74 scholars and graduates who benefitted from these grants for nearly a decade.”

Dr. Manyam went on to say that many of the program’s graduates and scholars are doing research and serving as leaders and supervisors in various private and state rehabilitation agencies.

The RSA grant supports the College’s commitment to educating and developing rehabilitation counselors, especially those who closely reflect the diverse population of the country, region and state, to address the statewide shortages of counselors faced by vocational rehabilitation agencies.

The College initially received a five-year, $956,956 RSA grant in 2015, which resulted in the successful recruitment and training of 40 RSA Scholars. A second $984,963 five-year grant was awarded in 2019, funding scholarships for another cohort of RSA Scholars.

“I am incredibly proud to watch our students and alumni grow in the rehabilitation counseling field,” said Assistant Professor of Counseling and Program Coordinator for the M.S. in clinical rehabilitation counseling Dr. Kristina Henderson. “They are making a difference, and the RSA grant makes that possible for many of them. We are thrilled that RSA recognizes the work we are doing here and is rewarding it with extra funding.”

The M.S. degree in clinical rehabilitation counseling is offered in a blended in-person and virtual format on the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta. Graduating students qualify for employment by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and other disability-related agencies in the state.