Highmark Funds QoLT's FATe Program for Wounded Warriors-Quality of Life Technology Center - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, July 15, 2013

Highmark Funds QoLT's FATe Program for Wounded Warriors

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield recently provided a $100,000 grant in support of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories' (HERLs') Fabrication of Assistive Technology (FATe) Program for Wounded Warriors.  FATe is designed to aid the transition of rehabilitating active-duty wounded warriors and rehabilitating veterans into potential careers in machining.  

Created by QoLT's Co-Director Dr. Rory Cooper and its Lead Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinator, Mary Goldberg, FATe leverages the advantages of HERL's advanced machine shop resources and its staff expertise to teach wounded warriors the basics of machining by exposing them to the design and development of assistive technologies that will allow veterans and all people with disabiliteis to live more independently.

"Highmark's grant to the Fabrication of Assistive Technology (FATe) Program is part of the company's longstanding history of supporting the military, veterans and the disabilities community," said Evan Frazier, Highmark's Senior Vice President of Community Affairs.  "It's our hope that these efforts will help to assist our service men and women find career opportunities that will lead to a greater future."

Dr. Cooper agrees, "The Department of Rehabilitiation Science and Technology and the Human Engineering Research Laboratories have a rich history in engineering and technical education.  Highmark's generous donation adds to our strong commitment and expertise in working with veterans with disabilities while putting us in the position to build and grow the FATe program as a national model."

All participants will complete a formal training program that will result in key competencies that are reflected on the National Institute for Metalworking Skills' NIMS Machining Level 1 exam.  The participants will also complete an on-the-job training (OJT) experience at local companies, where a potential long-term, full-time placement could be secured.  A pathway will also be made available to support participants' segue to higher education through the Community College of Allegheny County and University of Pittsburgh.

The Highmark grant will also support further program efforts towards sustainability including an accreditation process, allowing it to be recognized by agencies like VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation so that in the future, veterans and people with disabilities will receive tuition assistance to participate in the program.  Program curricula, materials and proceses will be archived and shared to enable replication at other facilities with HERL's fabrication capabilities.

The FATe program is largely modeled after the QoLT Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering (ELeVATE) program, a college transition initiative for Wounded Warriors.  Both programs provide vocational counseling support, professional skill development, and supplementary activities to create a comprehensive cohort-based transition initiative for Wounded Warriors.

The FATe Program is set to begin in Fall 2013.  There are no prerequisites for program participants, however, preference will be given to those with disabilities who have an interest in a career in machining, fabrication, engineering/engineering technology, assistive technology, rehabilitation and/or prosthetics.  

For more information on the FATe and ELeVATE programs in QoLT, please visit:  www.qolt.pitt.edu/veterans.


About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves approximately 3.2 million members through the company's health care benefits business and employes more that 5,000 people in Western Pennsylvania.  Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.  For more information, please visit www.highmark.com.

About the Human Engineering Research Laboratories
The Human Engineering Research Laboratories are funded jointly by the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and are tasked with continuously improving the mobility and function of people with disabilities through advanced engineering in clinical research and medical rehabilitation.  To learn more, please visit: www.herl.pitt.edu.

By: Michael Lain, mil72 @ pitt.edu, 412.822.3663