Opportunities to shine
More than 85 percent of graduates of UD’s Career and Life Studies Certificate (CLSC) program for students with intellectual disabilities have acquired jobs within three months of graduating.
CLSC administrators and instructors say exploring and identifying individual students’ interests, understanding their strengths and vulnerabilities, and providing real-world learning experiences such as internships and job shadowing, are keying the workplace successes.
CLSC job coaches also continue dialogues with employers after CLSC graduates find their jobs, discussing the former students’ progress and, should they arise, concerns.
Two years in CLSC paid off for CLSC graduates Brandon Brown and Alex Slusser. CLSC helped turn Brown’s preference for hands-on experiences into a job caring for plants and stocking the market at Willey Farms. The job’s “a great opportunity to use all of my abilities,” he said. Slusser said he overcame his shyness during his enrollment in the CLSC program, which, in turn, helped him get a customer service position at Wilmington’s Penn Cinema. “The job is fun, but it also helped me mature,” he said.
Penn Cinema assistant manager Ed Trout said employing CLSC grads benefits the community. “Having Alex on board has shown our staff, customers, and other employers how to treat people with disabilities—like anyone else,” said Trout. “Give them opportunities and they’ll shine.”