August 2, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Easterseals Arkansas will commemorate the first graduating class of a post-secondary education program that allows students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have a college experience and prepare for competitive employment.
The first seven graduates of the Academics, Community, Career Development and Employment Program (ACCE) will be celebrated in a special ceremony at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7, in Dickinson Hall Auditorium on the UA Little Rock campus. Important components of the two-semester program that began Jan. 30 include academics, social support, work exploration and job placement. Students learned independent living skills, while working at internships that provide on-the-job experience, career exploration and core employment skills.
The program was established with the knowledge that only 32 percent of working-age people with disabilities were employed from 2010 to 2012, according to the Department of Labor. Studies show that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who participate in post-secondary education have better jobs and receive higher earnings.
“We are excited to partner with UA Little Rock to offer this important program,” said Easterseals Arkansas President and CEO Elaine Eubank. “ACCE opens doors to opportunity and helps graduates live more independently.”
The positive impact of ACCE already can be seen. Student Charlee Brosh is the first student from the program to be offered a permanent job. Regarding her internship leading up to her job placement in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Audiology and Speech Pathology Clinic, she said she learned that “work could be fun.”
“I learned job duties can be big or small like shampooing a carpet,” Brosh said. “I learned to use Excel. I thought it was hard at first, but it is not. I had to run the office while staff were in meetings.”
Of the UA Little Rock college experience, Charlee said she enjoyed meeting lots of people and seeing people she knows on campus.
For more than 70 years, Easterseals Arkansas has been a resource for people with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to provide exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.