Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities will soon have a new option for pursuing higher education: Impact U. Concordia College is currently taking applications for its inaugural class of Fall 2018.
To develop the program, Concordia has partnered with Bethesda Lutheran Communities, a Christian organization and a national leader in providing support to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help them live the lives they want. Concordia’s program will be modeled after Bethesda College, a successful post-secondary education certificate program the organization runs at Concordia University Wisconsin.
The program will prepare students for employability in a career path and increase their independent living skills. Students will graduate in two years with a Certificate of Applied Learning and a resume of work experiences. Initially scaled for a class of up to ten, the program will focus on 18- to 24-year old students with a range of developmental disabilities including autism and intellectual disability.
With person-centered planning and support, students will live in the dorms and participate fully in campus life, while attending classes designed to expand general knowledge and promote the growth of thinking and problem solving skills. Students will gain work experience through on- and off-campus internships and paid jobs, participate in campus service projects, and also have the opportunity to audit select Concordia College classes.
Dr. Stephanie Squires, Concordia’s Dean of Teacher Education, is leading the development of Impact U. She expects students completing the program to attain several outcomes critical to employability and independent living. These include social and emotional growth; an enhanced ability to problem-solve, self-advocate and make decisions; heightened spiritual awareness; greater knowledge of community resources; and a lifelong connection to Concordia College as valued alumni.
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