Thanks to a program at Bergen Community College (BCC) in New Jersey, students with intellectual disabilities are able to reach college and career milestones they never thought were possible.
Garden State Pathways to Independence for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Project, also known as Turning Point, is a two-year, non-residential certificate program for students with intellectual disabilities who want to continue their educational experience. It is just one of 26 college programs in the country for students with intellectual disabilities funded by the Department of Education.
Turning Point combines academic enrichment, social and recreational activities and career development in order to provide a substantive mix of learning and practical skills, such as how to fill out job applications, file taxes and balance a weekly budget.
So far, 65 students have received a Certificate of Achievement from the program, and many have gone on to get jobs in the community that otherwise might not have been attainable.
BCC hopes that Turning Point will serve as model for other institutions across the country.