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A round-up on the recent successes of higher education for students with IDD

Portland State University’s Career and Community Studies program has now been funded for the next two years. They will be welcoming a handful of freshmen this winter who will be participating in the only inclusive four-year university option in the state.

Clackamas Community College’s Oregon City campus continues to partner with West Linn Wilsonville school district’s Adult Transition Program, making college accessible for their students with an intellectual disability. They hope to return to in-person classes this year.

The INVEST program at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Washington has thirty students this year, the most they’ve ever had. Not only do they add students each year, but they add more vocational pathways, new cohorts, and new classes.

The ACHIEVE program at Highline College in Kent, Washington, is celebrating successful student internships, including a film critic who showcased phenomenal writing skills for the college student newspaper and is now the 2021-22 Artistic Director for the Thunderword, and a fishing enthusiast with an extensive knowledge about bait and fish in the Pacific NW, who was offered a part-time position at Outdoor Emporium before the internship was over.

ACHIEVE is also celebrating their successful Disability Justice Week, Disability Joy: A Mindset of Unapologetic Liberation, a series centering the intersectionality of the disability experience through a Disability Justice framework that addresses systemic oppression and amplifies the voices of historically marginalized communities for collective liberation.

Recently, Dan Jarvis-Holland spoke to the first cohort of the Redwood SEED Scholars program at University of California, in Davis, for Disability Employment Awareness Month. He shared a presentation about jobs he has had, his education including college, what he does with the money he earns, and the best and worst parts about working. Students were excited and encouraged to think about the work they want to do someday. Redwood SEED Scholars is the first four-year inclusive residential college program in California, and self-determination and choice are planted there.

Our Think Inclusive College West Coast Coalition is working to create awareness about college for students with an IDD, and to increase options at community colleges and universities in Oregon and the NW region. Recently, we gathered community voices and sent a Coalition letter of support for PSU’s Career and Community Studies program. Thank you to individuals with an IDD and everyone who reached out and participated in supporting Oregon’s only university option for students with an IDD.

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