HACC creates program for people who are developmentally disabled

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Feb 15, 2016 2:32 PM

(Harrisburg) -- When a person who is developmentally disabled graduates high school, some have said they have few places to turn.

HACC is trying to become part of the solution.

The community college system with several midstate campuses is starting a different program this fall.

HACC will offer two tracks for people who are developmentally disabled - nurse aide or culinary worker.

They'll sit in regular classes, but also receive help in a special two-hour class four times a week.

Linda Leavens, inclusion coordinator for HACC, says people with developmental disabilities usually graduate high school, but don't have many educational opportunities after that.

"But they haven't real often had the skills in order to get the job. So a lot of parents have described it as falling off a cliff. Once they get out of high school, trying to negotiate how to get their child a job."

Leavens says HACC will start the program with a small class - just six students - but could ramp up as it determines what strategies are effective.

It will also include classes on job skills and some job shadowing.

"The need is out there. HACC has always been open to working with all populations in the community and wanting to support people in bettering their lives, regardless of their background," she adds.

Applications are already being accepted, and tuition will cost about $12,000 a year.

Leavens says she's talked with employers in the area, and they say they would be interested in hiring graduates of HACC's new program.

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