FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2014
CONTACT: Laurel Patrick, (608) 267-7303
Year of A Better Bottom Line: Governor Scott Walker Meets Students Enrolled at Madison Area Technical College through Campus Connect
Program Encourages Students with Intellectual Disabilities to Attend College
Madison – Governor Scott Walker visited Madison Area Technical College (MATC) today to meet students enrolled in Campus Connect and faculty members of Madison College. Campus Connect is one of the Think College programs. Think College is a national movement which promotes the inclusion of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the college community. In Wisconsin a number of the programs are transition-based, so students in both high school and at local college campuses or technical colleges can improve their access to college and job skill training.
“Think College and Campus Connect are making great strides to support students with intellectual disabilities go to college, succeed in their courses, and attain the job skills and career goals they desire,” Governor Walker said. “These students are just as motivated as their peers and it is remarkable to see them working hard to reach their goals.”
Campus Connect, similar to many other Think College programs, offers typical college courses to students with intellectual disabilities. The initiative promotes postsecondary education options for these students and aims to maximize the K-12 experience for students with intellectual disabilities, so they are best prepared to enter postsecondary education. Goals of the program include work experience, inclusion with peers, independent living skills, participation in college classes, and successful course and program completion leading to degree or certificates. Those completing the program will more likely be successfully employed in higher wage jobs of their choosing.
Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Area Technical College partner together on Campus Connect. This individualized, transition-based program focuses on employment, access to college classes, and development of self-determination. Students take a minimum of six credits per semester and also have the opportunity to participate in internships and volunteer work. A Madison Metropolitan School District teacher works with students to provide tutoring, collaborate with the disability resource center, and make arrangements with the instructors.
In addition to Campus Connect, Wisconsin boasts a number of transition-based programs for students:
- Next Step UW – Available to students in Manitowoc Public Schools, this program aims to further career development and life skills. Training is offered at the University of Wisconsin–Manitowoc.
- Jump! Start – Students are able to choose between three tracks: the pre-college track allows students the opportunity to earn a certificate; core courses teach independent living skills; or inclusive courses such as photography, fitness, or first aid. Each track includes an internship.Students in Vilas, Forest, or Oneida counties may enroll and classes are offered at Nicolet College through a partnership with Headwaters, Inc., Nicolet College, Rhinelander School District, and the Northland Pines School District.
- STRIVE (Students Taking Responsibility for Independence and Vocational Education) – Students from Homestead High School are able to take a course on career preparation and explore careers such as culinary, graphic arts, health care, horticulture, TV production, and child care. The program is available through a partnership between Homestead High School and the MATC Mequon and Milwaukee campuses.
- Learning for Independence – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, CESA 7, and area school districts team up on this initiative to provide specially-designed classes to students two days a week.
- Individualized Support Model – This structure is designed for communities without established programs. Transition coordinators help students access classes at a local college or university. Students have the option to audit a course, take the class for credit, or complete continuing education classes, while still receiving support from the disability services center.
2014 – Year of A Better Bottom Line:
- Governor Walker proclaimed 2014 as the Year of A Better Bottom Line to encourage and promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities. A Better Bottom Line is tailored after Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s initiative with the National Governor’s Association, which details the vast benefits for employers, employees, and communities.
- During the Year of A Better Bottom Line, Governor Walker is directing state agencies to focus on recognizing and promoting public and private programs, companies, and organizations that are improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including veterans and students.
- Under Governor Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity, the state is expanding Project SEARCH, a program helping young people with disabilities transition from high school to the workplace. The expansion increases the number of participating businesses by 20, up from seven, over three years.
- Governor Walker signed legislation to increase the number of people served by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation by 6,000. This will allow the state to reduce or eliminate the waiting list of persons with disabilities seeking assistance with job skills training and advocacy, so they can enter the workforce.