This spring, the first group of disabled students to participate in the UCF Inclusive Education Services Program is set to graduate.
13 students from this program will graduate this spring, the first-ever graduates of the program. This is a two and a half year program for students with intellectual disabilities, with IQs around 75.
The program is intended for disabled students who aren’t able to go through the traditional college experience. With this program, they can still experience what college is like, in a shorter program where they take courses designed to prepare them for success after school.
With this program, students can concentrate in three different areas including hospitality, social services, and education. These disabled students can take regular courses at UCF, but won’t count towards their IES program. Students within the program don’t receive a Bachelor’s degree.
UCF is actually the only university in the state of Florida with a program like this. However, they are a part of the 200 universities in the country that have this program.
Within the first few years of the program, it seems like a huge success for UCF.
Benefits for disabled students with the IES Program
The feedback from this program has been overwhelming. It’s an opportunity for students with intellectual disabilities, to get involved on campus, make friends, and prepare for the workforce.
There are many stories where people with intellectual disabilities feel left out. With this program, it builds friendships and the feeling of inclusion. Attending UCF is a dream for many, and these students will now have that to cherish forever.
Not only will they make friends, but they will build communications skills. Working together with others and through the classroom, it will help them prepare to communicate with others in the workforce. After all, that is the purpose of this program.
While living on campus, these students also learned how to live on their own. These students learn how to become more independent, as they’re away from their family.
The opportunity for these students to participate in clubs and activities on campus is incredible. It really helps push this idea of inclusion.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, several students already have jobs lined up after they graduate for the program. In a world where disabled people struggle to find jobs, this program has helped people with intellectual disabilities find a job after graduation.
One of the great moments of this program is that these students will walk the stage during UCF graduation.
With the first class set to graduate in the upcoming weeks, it’s a nice time to reflect on the IES Program that UCF has put together.
Requirements for the IES Program
Like any school program, there are some requirements to get into this program. These requirements help prepare these disabled students for the program.
The price for in-state students is $40,000, which includes classes, housing, and meals throughout the whole program. However, students can qualify for scholarships to potentially lower the cost.
As part of the program, students must participate in an off-campus internship for one semester. The Career Liaisons will be able to help the students in the process.
Since the program is designed for students with intellectual disabilities, so it’s not available for everyone.
Currently, there are only 24 students in the program according to the Orlando Sentinel. So, the program doesn’t have many students currently in it.
The impact this program can have
Of course, the IES Program is going to have not only an impact on students currently in the program but hopefully on people with intellectual disabilities around the country.
Florida is a state with many popular schools, and if the program continues to have success, the program will likely appear at other Florida universities. The more it appears in one state, the more it will appear around the country. In a few years, this could be common across most universities.
It’s a great opportunity for people with developmental disabilities to prepare for adult life and life in the workforce. If these programs continue to open up, we should see more disabled people in the workplace.
Those who are currently in the program will obviously reap the benefits, as they build relationships on campus and find jobs after college.
The Inclusive Education Services Program can be the beginning of something special for universities around the country.