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Funding Opportunities

Project ACCESS (Masters LBS I)

Access to Integrated Employment for Students with Severe Disabilities

Master's Degree Program at the University of Illinois

Funding from Project ACCESS supports graduate students enrolled in the Learning and Behavior Specialist I (LBSI) program.  The LBSI graduate program is a 2-year, full-time, on-campus program that leads to a Master of Education and special education teacher licensure.

Graduate students who receive funding from ACCESS gain expertise in effective, research-based strategies for educating students with disabilities.  In addition, they receive specialized training in the areas of transition, secondary curriculum, and employment for students with severe disabilities through participation in a series of collaborative activities with students from UIUC’s school social work program.  These activities emphasize an interdisciplinary focus to preparing students with severe disabilities to transition from school to competitive integrated employment.  Graduate students from the LBSI and school social work programs complete the following activities together:

  • Intensive Collaborative Seminars - Scholars will obtain specialized knowledge about secondary curriculum, transition, competitive integrated employment, and interagency collaboration through a series of intensive full-day seminars (one each semester).
  • Shared Coursework – Focused learning about supporting students with challenging behavior and severe disabilities will be acquired through a course taken by all scholars.
  • Shared Fieldwork Experiences – Experiences will include observations of work-based learning experiences and job sites, and interactions with families, teachers, job coaches, and rehabilitation professionals.
  • Practicum/Internship – All scholars will participate in at least one semester of fieldwork in a secondary school setting.
  • Chicago Externship – Scholars will participate in a 2-day externship in Chicago each year of the program to learn about preparing culturally diverse students with severe disabilities for employment in urban settings.
  • Induction Program – An induction program will be instituted for program graduates that provides opportunities for ongoing networking, training, and mentoring.

In addition, graduate students in the LBSI program receive a traineeship that supports their participation in research and teaching activities related to the grant’s competency areas.


This program is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.  Project ACCESS provides LBSI graduate students with a:

  • Tuition waiver for all semesters except the first summer semester
  • Fee waiver for most university fees
  • Paid 9-month traineeship in year one and 11-month traineeship in year two
  • Stipend for participation in the two-day Chicago Externship

Participants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to qualify for funding and sign a service agreement indicating that they will work in their field for two years for every year of funding received.

Application Process

Applicants should submit an online application to the LBSI program via the Graduate College website:

All applicants will be considered for funding.

For More Information Please Contact:

Stacy K. Dymond, Professor, Department of Special Education, at

Women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply. 
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

Apply Here

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