COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING PROGRAM
The Kentucky Supported Higher Education Project (SHEP) was a grant funded project that received funding from the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act Amendment and resulted in a collaboration between the University of Kentucky and Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) to develop the Comprehensive Training Program (CTP). The CTP provided educational opportunities for students with intellectual and cognitive disabilities.
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is exploring the viability of the CTP model for DSLCC service area residents who have cognitive disabilities.
Participants in the Kentucky model enrolled in selected college courses, typically taking 6 CR over a two-year period while completing internships related to a career goal. A total of 24-36 hours of coursework was required.
CTP students selected courses from the community college catalog, typically enrolling in content areas related to personal finance, college success, computer skills, and health and wellness as well as appropriate occupational/technical and vocational courses.
Courses were taken for either credit or audited. For all audited courses, modified assignments tied to both course content and specific career and or life goals were included. Professional staff and peer mentors worked in collaboration with course instructors to modify course assignments so as not to create additional responsibilities for faculty.
The students were expected to achieve all course objectives at the same level as their college peers and were be graded on the same course scale as all other students. As required by ADA, students with documented disabilities received accommodations as long as those accommodations did not change the course content or grading standard.
CTP LEARNING OUTCOMES
The outcomes for students participating in the CTP are:
· Gainful Employment: Students who complete the CTP program will be better prepared for the world of work having gained job seeking skills, a knowledge of work etiquette, problem solving and organization skills, and skills specific to their chosen specialty.
· Socialization: Through participating in a fully inclusive college experience, the students will gain interpersonal skills that will benefit them both vocationally and socially.
· Self-esteem and Self-Advocacy: The very act of completing the coursework for the College to Career Portfolio will provide the students with a greater sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
The Kentucky Career Training Program offers the potential for locate residents with intellectual disabilities to develop meaningful employment skills as they transition from existing secondary programs or other care facilities into independent living and employment. A number of steps must be completed to make this a reality.
There exists within DSLCC’s service area, a number of providers who offers services in support of persons with cognitive disabilities. This includes programming in area schools as well as community based programs. Local partners will be crucial to the development of a meaningful credential. Examples include Department of Rehabilitation Services, Career Support Systems, Virginia Employment Commission as well as area high schools with program that support students with intellectual disabilities.
Care must be given to the curriculum to ensure that courses provide students with meaningful skills. There is also the opportunity to explore non-credit offerings as well as credit offerings and to develop or adapt the college readiness course for CTP students. Candidate courses include:
· SDV 100 or SDV 101 (College Success Skills).
· FIN 107 (Personal Finance)
· ITE 115 (Intro to Computer Applications
· BUS 100 (Introduction to Business)
· PED 116 (Lifetime Fitness and Wellness)
· HLT 110 (Concepts of Personal and Community Health)
Student Support Resources
Eligible participants in the Kentucky CTP program received the services of peer mentors and other student support professionals while on campus. Ensuring the safety and security of CTP students is paramount. DSLCC does have trained counselors on staff who can provide this support; however, thought must be given to how college personnel can best support CTP students.
CTP program will not meet the needs of every student with cognitive or intellectual disabilities. Care must be given to developing admissions requirements. Terms like “cognitive and intellectual disabilities” will need to be defined and to address disabilities such as Autism, Intellectually Disabled, and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Although the proposed program will largely make use of existing resources, program development would benefit from existing support networks.