UNC to Pilot Inclusive Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

The University of Northern Colorado this fall will begin piloting a higher education program for students with intellectual disabilities.

The inclusive program will be offered for the first time in Colorado and will receive state funding after the Legislature approved the initiative as part of Senate Bill 196, which is awaiting Gov. John Hickenlooper's signature. Additional support will be provided by the Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education, also known as IN!, and the Bresnahan-Halstead Foundation at UNC.

The program has been in the works at UNC for over a year, said Associate Professor of Special Education Robin Brewer. Brewer will direct UNC GOAL (Go On and Learn) and plans this fall to enroll four students with intellectual disabilities into college courses modified by UNC GOAL staff, students and volunteers.

GOAL students will also live in residence halls and work on campus. They will be able to take up to two classes each semester. In addition, they will complete seminars on transitioning to college, budgeting and developing work skills. The four-year program will lead to a certificate, preparing students for competitive employment. Brewer said research shows that students who finish a four-year program will earn a salary of up to 75 percent higher than those who did not enter the workforce after a college/university program.

"UNC is perfectly positioned to host a program for students with intellectual disabilities," Brewer said. "As the state's premier university for educators, UNC has the ability to support these students using the best research-based teaching methods. Our teacher candidates are very excited that they will have a chance to work with us to ensure UNC GOAL students learn to their fullest potential."

An open house to introduce GOAL is scheduled for 3-6 p.m. June 15 in the Fireside Lounge of the University Center, 2045 10th Avenue. The event will include a campus tour. Interested students and their families are encouraged to attend. To R.S.V.P, contact Brewer at robin.brewer@unco.edu.