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Interagency Outreach Training Initiative (IOTI)


The Interagency Outreach Training Initiative (IOTI) is intended to improve the lives of people with disabilities by supporting training for consumers and agency personnel. It has three unique features:

  1. The IOTI initiative focuses on areas where there are gaps in training already offered within the state. Thus, training can be directed to critical needs. For example, people may need help in learning to use newly-developed equipment or to understand changes in service delivery that result from policy shifts.
  2. The IOTI promotes coordinated training across agencies. A Steering Council makes decisions about IOTI policies and procedures. Its members are consumers with disabilities and representatives of the state agencies that serve people with disabilities. The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University carries out the Council's decisions.
  3. The IOTI supports innovative training. The Steering Council determines training needs and request proposals for training from public and non-profit agencies throughout the state. Only those proposals with the most merit are funded. Thus the training that results reflects the thinking of many, including representatives of people who need training and those who provide it.


Since 1995, the IOTI has funded more than 200 projects have been conducted by more than 50 public and private agencies and organizations some of which include:

  • Supported and Customized Employment
  • Training on Customized Employment
  • Interpreter Certification Training
  • Medicaid managed care
  • Person-centered outcomes, self determination, and futures planning
  • Education for individuals with disabilities in training their own personal attendants
  • Assistive technology training
  • Autism Resources for Parents
  • Interdisciplinary training of early intervention service providers
  • Training individuals with disabilities about human relationships
  • Education for families in understanding transition issues, Section 504 provisions, IEP, awareness of local resources,
  • Training for paraprofessionals, professionals, and families to address mental health issues in young children
  • Training for law enforcement and judicial personnel re: individuals with disabilities and/or those with mental health issues
  • Diversity and Outreach training to minority populations
  • Training for benefits planning and outreach counselors
  • Training in sexual violence prevention for people with disabilities
  • Training for paraprofessionals and professionals in recognizing dual diagnosis
  • Training for consumers in locating and maintaining affordable housing
  • Preventing elder abuse and neglect
  • Emergency Response Training
  • Healthy lifestyles for people with disabilities
  • Faith-based training (disability specific)
  • Training for child care providers of children with disabilities
  • Autism Resources and Parent Training
  • TBI training
  • Positive Behavioral Approaches and Supports
  • Issues of Guardianship
  • Training for providers who work with individuals with mental illness
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Transition (early childhood, school-age, youth to adult, aging)
  • Para Coaching and Training re: effective communication for Children w/ Multiple Disabilities
  • Community Integration
  • Adaptive Recreation and Ability Awareness

Recent Results

Thirteen (13) separate projects were funded for the 2016-17 fiscal year, and eight (8) projects are funded for the current 2017-18 fiscal year.


The IOTI was funded in 1995 by the Utah State Legislature. It was intended to coordinate training efforts across agencies in order to reduce costly duplication. Also, it was to address areas of current need. For example, one recognized training gap was in the education of paraprofessionals who provide supports to people with disabilities. Paraprofessionals serve in varied roles in many agencies: education, adult services, early intervention, and health care. Often paraprofessionals have not had preservice training to help them learn to serve people with disabilities. The IOTI offered a means to provide educational opportunities for paraprofessionals, thus helping them to provide improved services.

The IOTI continued to develop through the combined efforts of Center for Persons with Disabilities' former director Marvin Fifield, heads of state disability agencies, and leaders of consumer organizations. They worked over a several year period to secure adequate funds for this collaborative inservice effort and to develop the operating procedures described above.

Funding Process

To encourage quality in the way that the state's training needs are addressed, the Steering Council solicits competitive proposals for training from any non-profit agency or organization in Utah. The process, which begins early in the calendar year, is:

  • The Request for Proposal is sent to Utah agencies and organizations serving individuals with disabilities and their families. It describes the areas of need in which projects will be funded. To apply for training grants, agencies or organizations send detailed letters of intent,describing how they propose to address a particular area of need. The RFP is issued each January.
  • The Steering Council reviews the letters of intent, and the organizations that submitted the highest-rated letters are invited to submit full proposals.
  • After the Steering Council reviews the proposals, those with the greatest merit are funded.
  • Funded proposals must respond to the intention of the legislation that funds the IOTI. Proposals are expected to: (a) show evidence of collaboration across agencies and with consumers in planning and conducting training activities; (b) to accomplish specific short-term activities, especially to build the capacity for future personnel training or resolve a short term gap in training; (c) show evidence of the intent to secure funding from sources other than IOTI if long-term training efforts are needed; and (d) show evidence of the ability to respond quickly and well to the training need.

IOTI Steering Council Members

Sue Olsen, Chair, Center for Persons with Disabilities
Jennifer Smart, Office of Rehabilitation Services
Kris Fawson, Statewide Independent Living Council
Darren Hotton, Division of Aging and Adult Services
Eric Christensen, Utah Department of Health
Pam Bennett, Div of Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Jennifer Salazar, Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind
James Q. Jensen, TKJ
Tanya Semerad, Utah Office of Education
Michelle Murphey, Utah Parent Center
Audra Solovi, Utah Dept of Health
Lisa Gaeta, Division of Services to People with Disabilities
Trevor Buit