North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities


The North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities at Minot State University conducts a wide range of projects serving the disability community. Many of these projects are funded through grants and contracts with outside agencies. NDCPD's active projects are listed below alphabetical order.



Active Support and System Change Project

The Active Support and System Change Project has been funded by the ND Department of Human Services to advance statewide efforts to assure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are actively and consistently engaged in meaningful activities throughout the day (Active Support) by direct support professionals and front line supervisors. Cathy Haarstad, the Project Director will offer on-site focused training and technical assistance on Active Support for ND’s community of DD service providers. The training is free and social-work credits will be available to interested participants. Our goal is to enroll all 32 provider agencies in this training program over a 2.5 - year period. Long-term mentoring in Active Support will be available through an online community of support and information on Active Support will be embedded in the MSU/NDCPD’s Community Staff Training Program. For more information contact Cathy at: 701.858,3048 or via email at


Achieving Success by Promoting Readiness for Education and Employment (ASPIRE)

The ASPIRE project is a collaboration among multiple agencies in six states, North Dakota included, to combine expertise and share resources in order to improve the quality of life of many of our most vulnerable families. The collaboration will coordinate activities for the PROMISE national initiative. Specifically, the ASPIRE project will be invested in the participants to enable them to move beyond a life of poverty and unemployment, disadvantage and devalued lives to increased self-determination, independence and financial self-sufficiency.

CONTACT: Amy Armstrong,


Advancing Student Toward Education and Employment Program (ASTEP)

Advancing Students Toward Education and Employment Program (ASTEP) is a transition and postsecondary education program that makes college a reality for young adults with intellectual disabilities.  ASTEP uses a person-centered planning process that incorporates the individual’s personal goals, career plans, and dreams into an inclusive education plan to help students learn employment and self-advocacy skills while gaining independence.


Young adults ages 18 to 26 attend college at Minot State University for two to three years where students can earn a College-to-Career certificate, and other career focused certificates.


ASTEP students live on campus or in the community where they enroll in college courses, complete an employment internship, learn independent living skills, and engage in campus and community life. A variety of supports are available in campus, employment, community, and social settings.

To learn more about attending college with the ASTEP program, contact the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) at

Ph: 1-(800)-233-1737  or  email:

Amy Armstrong, Project Director at,


Advocates Leading Their Lives (ALL) Network Leadership  This project will train executive board members to be provided an opportunity to implement the foundations of self-advocacy including problem solving, speaking up, and enhancing empowerment skills through leadership roles as a self-advocate.

CONTACT: Rhonda Weathers,


Bringing Resources into Development Gainful Employment (BRIDGE the Gap)

This project will increase integrated competitive employment opportunities in rural ND for youth 18-21 with ID/DD by providing training, outreach, and technical assistance to teachers through this capacity building demonstration project.

CONTACT: Rhonda Weathers,


Community Staff Training Program (CSTP)

For over thirty years, North Dakota has provided staff training through a cooperative effort of the North Dakota Department of Human Services (NDDHS), the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) at Minot State University (MSU), and community agencies serving persons with developmental disabilities (DD). Service providers employ state-certified regional trainers to deliver training through modules and a series of field-based practica. MSU offers regional workshops, webinars, and conferences specific to interests of community-based staff. Faculty meet quarterly with the agency trainers for training and curriculum development.

CONTACT: Mary Mercer,


Diversity Fellowship

Increase workforce development and service impact in the Native American population through a one-year sustainable diversity fellowship. The diversity fellow is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and will be supported to engage in a number of leadership and training opportunities throughout the grant cycle.  The outcome of this project is to shape NDCPD’s 5-year plan to focus on serving underserved and unserved populations across the state.

CONTACT: Rebecca Daigneault,


Experienced Parent Region 1, 2, 4, & 5

This project provides information and support to parents with a child enrolled in Developmental Disabilities services in Region I (Williston area), Region II (Minot area), Region 4 (Grand Forks area) and Region 5 (Fargo area).

CONTACT Cathy Haarstad, cathy


Great Plains Interdisciplinary Autism Diagnostic Clinic

This project provides diagnostic services to North Dakota children and youth. The clinic houses an interdisciplinary team who conducts arena-style assessments in collaboration with the child's local team and family.

CONTACT: Hilory Liccini,


Health Conference

NDCPD has received funds the ND State Developmental Disabilities Council to coordinate a health conference for people with disabilities, their family members, caregivers, and professionals. Conference participants will learn about living and promoting healthy lifestyles, preventing secondary conditions, advocating for health awareness, and accessing healthcare supports more effectively. In addition, NDCPD will identify needs in North Dakota’s healthcare services for people with DD.

CONTACT: Kim Mathwich,


Medical Home Education in ND (MHEND)

This project will meet the health care needs of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) and their families by educating healthcare providers, human service providers, educators and families about the essential components of Medical Home systems and care coordination for CYSHCN across ND.

CONTACT: Rhonda Weathers,


Minot Infant Development Program (MIDP)

This project identifies infants (birth-3) who are developmentally delayed, high risk, or at risk. In addition, this contract provides for in-home programming and infant stimulation activities for eligible children.

CONTACT: Dianne Bossert,


Money Follows the Person Housing Program (MFP)

This project seeks 1) to develop and maintain an effective, consumer-directed, accessible and comprehensive housing resource system for persons wishing to transition to the community from an institutional level of care and for persons at risk of institutionalization; 2) to effectively reduce the stigma of persons with disabilities or the aging population statewide, while working to change community attitudes and misconceptions regarding community housing for persons with disabilities or aging persons; and 3) to assist in the statewide effort to develop and expand the number of safe, affordable, accessible, quality and permanent housing options.

CONTACT: Cheryl Merck,


NDCPD Core Grant

NDCPD is a University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities, Education, Research and Services. It is part of a network of similar programs at universities throughout the US. University Centers of Excellence (UCE) such as NDCPD serve the disability community by 1) providing interdisciplinary training to students who are seeking professions in the human service arena; 2) providing inservice training for professionals and others serving people with disabilities and their families; 3) disseminating information about effective best practices regarding services for people with disabilities; and 4) providing technical assistance to agencies and programs serving the disability community. NDCPD develops funding to carry out these functions by obtaining grants and contracts. These functions in turn become the ‘core’ of NDCPD’s activities.

CONTACT: Brent Askvig,



This project works towards reducing the loss to follow-up after failure to pass newborn hearing screenings in ND. ND is identifying, treating and referring fewer infants with hearing loss than expected based on national incidence levels. On-site training, technical assistance, public awareness, data analysis and infrastructure support are key features of this project.

CONTACT: Jerusha Olthoff,



ND has a fully developed EHDI (Early Hearing Detection Intervention) program which collects unduplicated individual identifiable data on every occurring birth through the EHDI process. Despite this system, barriers of redundancy continue to exist. This EHDI-IS project will focus on reducing the duplicate data entry burden and reduce rates of loss to recommended follow-up services.

CONTACT: Jerusha Olthoff,


ND Navigator Project II

NDCPD will establish a collaborative network of regional Navigators and Certified Application Counselors (CAC) that are home-grown and have already established the trust of their neighbors. These CAC's will coordinating training, disseminate educational materials and monitor the unbiased implementation of the Affordable Care Act by assisting all North Dakotans in choosing an appropriate health care plan that best fits their needs.

CONTACT: Neil Scharpe,


ND Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP)

This project assists all ND seniors, including those in our most rural counties and those with disabilities review their Medicare bills to assure that no errors, fraudulent charges or abuses have occurred by using local volunteers, regional volunteer coordinators, and disability adapted curricula to educate beneficiaries. CONTACT: Linda Madsen, linda.madsen@minotstateu


ND Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Expanding Supported Employment

This project will coordinate the training and technical assistance for VR/DD pilot projects at four Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) to explore and implement innovative strategies to provide integrated employment for people that currently are receiving day supports in non-integrated environments.

CONTACT: Michele Burney,


Parent Resources for Employment Preparedness for Transition (PREPT)

PREPT will include the development of learning materials and a family-centered employment toolkit. Project staff will educate parents and young adults 14-26 at a full day workshop about integrated competitive employment, resources and services that are available for families and youth 14-26 with developmental disabilities. Four workshops will be conducted across North Dakota.

CONTACT: Rhonda Weathers


Project Innovate

Project Innovate's goal is to improve healthcare outcomes to children with disabilities in underserved communities utilizing Project ECHO in collaboration with the Wyoming Institute on Disabilities (WIND).  Project Innovate aims at helping combat the barriers people with disabilities face in a new and unique way by using the existing Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO), tele-health style, information-sharing model. Designed to educate, train, and sustain participants with the necessary skills to support the health of people with disabilities, Project Innovate uses ECHO to "Move information, not people".

CONTACT: Hilory Liccini,


Right Track

This project identifies infant and toddlers that may be at risk for DD, provides developmental screenings, refers to other services as appropriate and provides developmental information to families.

CONTACT: Dianne Bossert,


Safe talk

NDCPD will implement a community-based education program to increase public suicide prevention awareness through the use of LivingWorks safeTALK. ND suicide community assessment surveys strongly show a need for community trainings to build suicide prevention networks in ND. NDCPD will plan and provide suicide prevention training to care providers, professionals, and community members across ND. Trainings will include the use of the world-leading LivingWorks suicide intervention training program. NDCPD will offer eight safeTALK trainings across ND that will prepare participants to identify people who have thoughts of suicide and connect them with life-saving first aid resources through the LivingWorks.
CONTACT: Christine Brigden,


Statewide Suicide Survey

The project will be to compile statewide community input (both subjective, using qualitative methods and objective, using quantitative methods) on systems of prevention and response to

suicide events (both treatment and support) across the state of North Dakota. Additionally, information regarding perceived resources as related to suicide prevention and treatment will be gathered. The intent is to gather perspective and information from multiple disciplines and entities.
CONTACT: Melissa Naslund,


Support Plan Capacity Building

This project will accomplish the following goals: 1. Train Program Coordinators/QDDP and behavioral analysts working across systems in ND to develop support plans based on a thorough functional behavioral assessment (FBA) using evidence-based practices and implement these plans in an effective manner to ensure the best chance for success. Furthermore, plan developers will learn how to collect and use data to make outcome-based decisions and provide specialists (i.e., physicians, behavior analysts) with the information they need to provide effective support to the individual and their team; 2. Develop standardized, evidence-based criteria, systems, and tools for approval and ongoing reviews of restrictive behavioral support plans by Human Rights and Behavior Intervention Committees; 3. Train Behavior Intervention and Human Rights Committee members how to evaluate restrictive behavioral support plans against evidence-based criteria and provide technical assistance to professionals who need assistance to meet the criteria required for approval by these


CONTACT: Hilory Liccini,



Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) is an interdisciplinary training program for professionals in a variety of disability-related disciplines. As a collaborative partnership between UCEDDs in Utah, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, URLEND trainees participate in three activities. These include didactic training sessions, research/leadership projects, and clinical observations.

CONTACT: JoLynn Webster,


Training Contracts

This project manages various face-to-face and on-line workshops. Evidence-based practices and value-based services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities are emphasized.

CONTACT: Mary Mercer,


Youth In Partnership for Empowerment (YIPE)

The YIPE Project will include the development, implementation, and evaluation of a curriculum designed to teach self-advocacy and leadership skills to youth participants with DD. These leadership experiences provided at 1) Minot middle school classroom, 2) Minot high school classroom, 3) Independence, Inc. after school leadership development program Youth Ambassadors for Disability Awareness (YADA); and 4) Teen Night Out - an evening recreation and social program will provide opportunities for youth to advocate self-determination, disability awareness, inclusion, and/or advocate for self and others.
CONTACT: Rhonda Weathers



NDCPD   Memorial Hall   500 University Ave West   Minot, ND 58707   1-800-233-1737



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