Ask Congress to Include Funding for Training OTs in Schools in the Reconciliation Bill Today!
Before the COVID-19 Pandemic began, there was a severe shortage of all Specialized Instructional Support Personal (SISP) in K-12 schools - this SISP umbrella explicitly includes occupational therapy practitioners (OTP). This shortage has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic and it continues to contribute to hardships in getting support to children and families who rely on these services.
Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) provides grants to support aspiring special educators, including SISPs & OTPs, through comprehensive preparation programs. These Personnel Preparation Programs, also referred to as pipeline or workforce programs, help train and educate future professionals to provide these crucial services for students.
Congress is currently drafting a reconciliation bill, which includes $297 million for IDEA Part D Personnel Preparation Grants. That could change at any moment. It is vital that you tell your legislators that this funding provision is important, or it could be removed from the legislation or be reduced in funding level during negotiations.
It is urgent that smaller proposals, such as the funding for the IDEA, Part D, be protected and included in the final draft of the reconciliation bill! By contacting your legislators on this issue today, you can help them make this issue a priority. Please urge your Members of Congress to support inclusion of Personnel Preparation Grant funding in the reconciliation bill.