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Schumer: New Funding Bill Provides Additional $4 Million for Rochester Institute for the Deaf, Prevents Staff Layoffs, Funds Purchase of New...

January 21, 2014

Schumer: New Funding Bill Provides Additional $4 Million for Rochester Institute for the Deaf , Prevents Staff Layoffs, Funds Purchase of New Equipment, Allows School to Retain Preeminence - Senator Details Other Ways Budget Benefits Rochester WASHINGTON , Jan. 21 -- The office of Sen. Charles E. Schumer , D- N.Y. , issued the following news release: Today, at the Lyndon B. Johnson building at RIT, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer stood with students and faculty of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester to announce an additional $4 million in the just-passed funding bill for the nationally renowned NTID, and will discuss a number of other funding victories for the Rochester area. Specifically, NTID received $66.29 million in the FY2014 Appropriations bill, which is up from $62 million last year due to sequestration. Schumer said that this funding is critical for NTID, which is now responsible for 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region. The boost in funding will prevent NTID from making staff layoffs, allow the college to renovate outdated facilities, purchase equipment that is critically important to educating deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and will help the school remain as affordable as possible for students. NTID has an extremely high graduation rate and earning potential for its students and is the largest American Sign Language interpreting training program in the world; Schumer and NTID officials spoke to the importance that additional federal funding plays in maintaining the school's preeminence. Schumer also highlighted other major victories for Rochester and some of its core employers in the Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations bill: a boost in funding for the University of Rochester Laser lab by $5.5 million that will allow U of R to maintain scientist jobs and national programs; an increase in HeadStart funding that will allow employers like Action for a Better Community (ABC) to compete for more federal dollars; a new round of U.S. DOT TIGER funding, and additional Department of Defense contract dollars for which Harris Radio can compete. " Rochester , and particularly the National Technical Institute for the Deaf , was a big winner in the new funding bill; it will stop the freezes and layoffs imposed by the sequester and give them the ability to keep more staff, purchase new equipment, and keep tuition affordable," said Schumer. "The NTID is one of the region's true bright spots; it adds to the local economy and creates a brighter future for the thousands of students that walk through its doors each year. I will always fight to bring federal dollars to support their mission, as well as other Rochester -area initiatives, like Action for a Better Community , the Rochester Laser Lab and Harris Radio - all of whom benefit from the new appropriations bill." The FY14 funding will stabilize employment at NTID, which due the funding decreases last year had to institute a voluntary retirement program that resulted in the retirement of 22 faculty and staff. Overall, as of the Fall of 2013, despite high student enrollment, NTID reduced employment to 530 faculty and staff, down from 587 in fall 2011 and 565 in Fall 2012. This would have likely continued if Schumer and his colleagues did not boost funding over last year's levels. Schumer was joined by NTID President Dr. Gerard Buckley , RIT President Dr. Bill Destler , students and faculty at NTID. Schumer and the staff outlined all the way that the increase in funding will help NTID in the coming year, after sequestration forced the institute to cut back on staff and resources last year. Specifically, Schumer said that NTID will not have to: eliminate any faculty or staff positions or limit the admission of qualified students this fall. Further, NTID will be able to maintain existing summer programs and study abroad opportunities. The appropriations funding means more than just maintaining NTID's current level of service--the institute would be able to add to their existing resources by purchasing state-of-the-art technology equipment, renovating outdated facilities, and restarting professional development courses. Schumer said that keeping tuition affordable was one of NTID's focal points after a few years of tuition increases. The federal appropriations will help them keep tuition lower than if sequester levels had been continued. Schumer revealed that the additional funding will enable NTID to modernize and renovate existing space in NTID's main (LBJ) building into the new home of NTID's Information and Computing Studies (ICS) Department . Currently, the ICS department is housed across campus in an outdated facility originally designed to house a 1970s-era mainframe computer and does not suit modern network lab and classroom needs. The new space, when completed, will provide ICS students with state-of-the-art lab and classroom space that will prepare them even better for high-technology employment. The additional $4 million will also allow NTID to purchase software and hardware that will enhance students' access to captioning for assigned course materials. Professors in the other colleges of RIT will often assign videos or online content to NTID students that are not always captioned; captioning these materials is resource-and-time-intensive, and this equipment will streamline and speed the process. All of these benefits impact the local economy and business development throughout Rochester . The Center for Governmental Research studied NTID's impact on the economy in 2011 and found that NTID is responsible for more than 1,000 jobs, both direct and indirect, and over $50 million in labor income. In addition, according to the Rochester Business Journal , due to its national scope and reputation, it captured $84 million in outside funding (75 percent federal) over the 2006-11 period. Schumer explained that these economic benefits are matched by the career benefits NTID produces in its graduates. Compared to deaf or hard of hearing students who were not NTID graduates, NTID students earned more over their career and rely less on federal entitlement programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). For an NTID graduate with a bachelor's degree at 50 years old, the median salary is $58,000 ; for one with an associate's degree it's $41,000 ; but for a non-NTID graduate, the median salary of a 50-year old is only $21,000 . Overall, studies show that NTID graduates over their lifetimes are employed at a higher rate, have higher earnings, and participate at a lower rate in SSI and SSDI than those who withdraw or earn degrees from other institutions of higher education. Schumer, at the event, spoke to the other major victories for Rochester -area businesses, schools and programs achieved through the appropriations bill: Schumer also notes that beyond NTID, the passage of the FY14 omnibus funding bill also sets the stage for RIT to land new research work with the Navy . Schumer, who has personally written to the Commandant of the USMC and the Director of the Office of Naval Research , in support of a $1.15 million research contract for the Navy , stated he would continue to push this effort to ensure the contract is finalized, and said that if awarded, the contract would be fulfilled at RIT. Beginning over a decade ago, Senator Schumer helped secure funding for the Department of Defense and RIT to build a state-of-the-art lab at RIT to work on critical defense modernization and sustainment initiatives. RIT developed cost-effective ways to rehab or upgrade military equipment, which extended the life of the equipment. Navy officials said unless the Federal Appropriations bill passed, it would be unable to consider this contract with RIT. Now with the funding bill in place, RIT can compete for this award. The investment will allow the Rochester Institute of Technology to continue supporting our troops overseas by ensuring they have the best tools available to do their jobs, while also investing in local technology, local jobs, and the Rochester region's reputation for cutting-edge research and development. Schumer also announced that, after his push, the FY2014 Appropriations Bill includes $64 million for the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). This is $5.25 million more than the $58.75 million allocated to the Lab last year under sequestration. This new funding will allow the University of Rochester to continue the critical work being done at its lab, particularly as it relates to the future of the United States through its research into fusion power, which has the potential to completely eradicate our dependence on foreign oil. This funding will provide the necessary resources to support the lab's research program and operations and experiments on OMEGA. Absent this level of funding, the lab could have been forced to lay off scientists and engineers, and reduce their capacity and partnerships with national laboratories. The federal HeadStart program received a $1.025 billion increase in the appropriations bill, up to $8.6 billion total for FY2014. The increase helps undo some of the harmful cuts imposed by sequestrations and offers an additional cost of living adjustment for current grantees. Rochester's Action for a Better Community (ABC) - which is a significant local employer that helps many break the cycle of poverty in Rochester - will be able to apply for more federal funding for its Head Start program. The omnibus appropriations bill includes funding for important tactical radio procurement programs which Rochester's Harris RF will compete for. Last year, Schumer successfully pushed the Army to move to a multi-vendor bidding process for their JTRS and Manpack radio systems, so that Harris RF could compete for the contract. The federal Dept. of Transportation's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program gets $600 million under the new appropriations bill, which is a 20 percent increase from last year's levels. Schumer secured $17.7 million from the TIGER program to fill-in Rochester's Inner Loop --the region's highest priority TIGER application and infrastructure project. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GRLI) will receive an increase of $16 million from sequester-level funding. Schumer stood at Roger Robach Community Center at Lake Ontario Beach last year to call for an increase in this program, which helps clean up environmental "hot spots" along the Great Lakes . Lake Ontario has been plagued by poor water quality, fish deaths, and frequent beach closures, but will now have a greater chance of receiving funds to begin cleanup projects. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program had its appropriations increased to $3.03 billion , up from FY2013 levels. Several Rochester -area projects have made use of CDBG funding, including the Midtown Plaza project and several downtown housing development projects. TNS 30VitinMar-140122-4609175 30VitinMar

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