A few universities in the midwest have started offering degrees to students with intellectual disabilities with focus on providing skills that encourage independent living, prepare students for employment and instill lifelong learning. Traditionally, these students have not been able to meet admissions criteria for college or have required additional assistance in college.
Bethel University in St. Paul, MN launched a new program called BUILD (Bethel University Inclusive Learning and Development) in Fall 2015 that is aimed at providing a career oriented curriculum and specialized mentorship. BUILD comprises of 40 – 50 credits that will introduce students to academic, vocational, residential and social learning experiences, and ultimately get them an applied skills certificate. Every semester, students will be involved in internships as well – on campus the first year and off campus the second.
University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO also offers a similar 2 year program called THRIVE (Transform, Health, Responsibility, Independence, Vocation, Education) for students in the age range of 18 – 25. The program consists of various classes, seminars and courses for credit that will help students develop independence, self reliance, new skills and job skills. THRIVE students with potential for earning a college degree can go on to do so by applying through the college’s general admissions process. The costs for one school year is approximately $21,000 (subject to change).
Edgewood College in Madison, WI offers the Cutting Edge Program for students with intellectual developmental disabilities. The program consist of various required courses, practicums and internships that help build necessary skills for employment. A balance of on campus and off campus housing supported by a peer mentor encourages independent living as well. These students also have a “Peer Mentors” support system that consists of graduate students from 600 level courses. These mentors help Cutting Edge students with coursework and daily schedules and needs. Of the 35 students who have completed the program, 70% gained employment after leaving college.
Check the source links to learn more about these programs!
[Thanks for sharing, Rachel!]
Image source: Bethel University