CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley’s department of continuing education and outreach secured a $10,000 grant from the D.R.E.A.M. Partnership on March 26. The grant will be used to explore possible post-secondary educational opportunities in support of independent living and employment for students with intellectual disabilities in Pennsylvania. The project aims to establish and sustain a career studies program in 2021-22 at the Lehigh Valley campus that meets the employability needs of students with intellectual disabilities in the surrounding 17 school districts.
The goals of PSU-LV’s department of continuing outreach and engagement complement the D.R.E.A.M. Partnership's mission to empower individuals of all abilities to work, live, and contribute to a better society. Nicole Moschberger, education program associate for Penn State Lehigh Valley, will organize and oversee the project.
“There is a critical need for more programs of this nature in higher education,” Moschberger said. “Less than a dozen four-year schools offer post-secondary programs in Pennsylvania for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Through this grant, we look forward to adding Penn State Lehigh Valley’s name to the list of schools stepping up to meet that need.”
Funding provided by the grant will support the project initiatives including:
- developing and implementing a peer mentor training model to prepare full-time students to act as peer mentors for prospective career studies students;
- developing a pre-college pipeline program by hosting an event for high school juniors with intellectual disabilities and a separate event for high school seniors with intellectual disabilities;
- collaborating with a high school special education teacher who will meet with PSU-LV professors and create academic supports for courses on the Career Studies audit list; and
- developing an interactive awareness campaign.
For more information on the D.R.E.A.M. Partnership grant, contact Nicole Moschberger at 610-285-5239 or [email protected]. Learn more about the services offered by visiting PSU-LV’s department of continuing education and outreach website.