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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. 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.

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, TWC’s Texas Workforce Solutions – Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS), 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.

All participants must be consumers of the TWC’s Texas Workforce Solutions – Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS). Interested students must complete an application, interview and be selected to participate.

Participants must be interested in completing a level­ one certificate and finding employment in their area of study. Accommodations and support services are provided. Modifications to the curriculum are not provided.