POCATELLO (AP) -- Idaho State University has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to be used to train educational consultants, teachers and interpreters for the deaf throughout the Northwest, said U.S. Sen. Dirk Kempthorne.

The $899,773 "Intermountain Hearing Impaired Partnership" grant will be used in a cooperative program shared by the college's Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, and the College of Education.Also involved in the program are special education administrators and superintendents of schools for the deaf and blind in Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and Idaho.

Deafness is a relatively uncommon disability, and most intermountain states do not have specialized university training programs, said project director Dr. Tom Longhurst. But over the next three years, the multistate cooperative will produce educational consulting teachers, 27 master's level teachers for the deaf and 33 educational interpreters.

Under the program, teachers and interpreters who currently are employed will be able to complete their degrees at ISU during the summer term and still work at schools in their home state.