Kent, OH – Kent State University just graduated it’s first class of learning difference students to complete the Career and Community Studies Program. Like a regular college program, it lasts four years and will allow qualifying students to live on campus. Unlike a regular college program, it retrofits classes to accommodate student needs, and focuses on giving them the full college experience. Students are also expected to work on campus and in the community to build social skills.
Kent State’s director of outreach and employment for the program Tom Hoza said in a news release that:
“What research shows is that students always do better when they’re with their typical peers. And where do a lot of their typical peers go? They go on to postsecondary education, colleges and universities.”
27 colleges and universities including Kent and Ohio State offer the program. Ohio’s program lasts two years and focuses solely on job skills. All 27 universities funded their programs by federal grants.
When Kent first started their program four years ago 20 students enrolled. The program grew with the students, tweaking and changing as it went along. By the end it was so successful that Kent State university has decided to continue the program despite lack of federal funding. 18 of the 20 students graduated on May 5.
Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshread.
Source:Karen Farkas on the Cleveland.com website: Kent State University graduates first class of students with intellectual disabilities