Every year thousands of students graduate from high school with the dream of continuing their education in college. Unfortunately, for some students with severe disabilities this means the end of their learning and education. Due to their extensive level of needs, existing support services do not provide the intensive wrap around services needed to be able to attend and be successful in post-secondary education. Beginning Fall 2015, El Paso Community College (EPCC) has implemented a pilot program, under the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), Project HIGHER, to address this need.
Project HIGHER is an innovative program that assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ages 18-25) in El Paso County to complete a level-one certificate at EPCC and find employment in their area of study. This Fall 2015 semester, six students with intellectual and developmental disabilities are enrolled in a certificate program.
Project HIGHER is a unique supported educational model based upon supported employment models which includes collaboration between EPCC, CSD, Master of Rehabilitation Counseling Program at the University of Texas at El Paso, Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), Volar Center for Independent Living, Education Service Center-Region 19 and other community partners to help participants succeed in post-secondary education and ultimately, achieve employment. Project HIGHER partners collaborated on this innovative project given the challenges traditionally faced by students with disabilities wanting to attend EPCC and gain employment in El Paso County.