College Launches Realizing Educational and Career Hopes Program

The College of Charleston will launch the Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (REACH) program in Fall, 2010, an inclusive program designed to provide postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. The College Transition Connection (CTC) is funding the development of this innovative model program, with financial support from the State of South Carolina. CTC Chair Donald Bailey announced that the grant will total $155,000 over three years and that it is the fourth project to be funded in South Carolina. The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is providing technical assistance and grant administration.

Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. joined College of Charleston President P. George Benson and Board Chair Marie Land, State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex, State Representative Harry B. “Chip” Limehouse, III, Charleston County School District Superintendent Dr. Nancy J. McGinley, College of Charleston faculty, CTC board members, NDSS representatives, and prospective students with disabilities and their parents when the program was announced today at an event on the College of Charleston campus.

The four-year inclusive program is designed to provide students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate in the academic, residential, social and professional experiences offered by the College, with appropriate support for success. REACH students will participate in regular classes and a career development program and will receive a certificate upon program completion.

“The College of Charleston’s leadership in developing innovative, inclusive postsecondary education opportunities, coupled with financial support from the College Transition Connection and the State of South Carolina, will result in long-term benefits for students with and without disabilities and will serve to transform the education and employment of students with intellectual disabilities within a state that is developing a comprehensive system of such opportunities,” said Stephanie Smith Lee, NDSS Senior Policy Advisor.

A small number of students will be admitted for the pilot starting Fall semester, 2010, with additional students accepted each Fall thereafter. REACH will be co-lead by Dr. Cindi May, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Dr. Fran Welch, Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance. A director will be appointed to administer the program.

The College of Charleston REACH program is supported by a partnership between CTC, NDSS, and the Center for Disability Resources at the University of South Carolina.

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