Another group of ACCE graduates is more prepared to compete in the workforce following successful completion of our college program in partnership with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In addition to on-the-job training and class instruction, ACCE (Academic, Community, Career Development and Employment Program) participants also enjoy being active in the college experience by attending Trojan games and engaging in homecoming festivities.
In just one year, the ACCE program has improved enrollment by 70 percent and three out 12 graduates already have jobs. 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.
Joshua Fletcher is one of the employed graduates who was also recognized as this year’s Associate of the year for his exemplary work during his time at ACCE. He has interned with UA Little Rock Ground Services and The Showroom to build custom frames and will be joining the workforce working full-time with Dillard’s Fulfillment Center as well as intermediate work continuing at The Showroom.
This year’s class has completed on-the-job training at various departments and organizations on and off campus, including Ottenheimer Library, Sodexo, Fitness Center, Grounds Services, Custodial Services, Athletic Department, Nursing Department, Sequoyah National Research Center, Jodie Mahoney Gifted and Talented, UAMS/UA Little Rock Speech and Hearing Clinic, Information Technology, Mid-South, Social Work, Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church Children’s Learning Center, The Showroom and Easterseals Developmental Preschool.
Jonmichal Walker, 19, one of the graduates, said he enjoys the social aspects of the program and the camaraderie he has developed with fellow students and Leslie Harms, the ACCE instructor. He also has been passionate about his internship on campus in IT services. Walker’s dream after graduation is to work at an electronics store in customer service.
ACCE students also enjoy student activities by attending Trojan games, homecoming activities and being active participants in the College Experience. The students increase UA Little Rock’s initiative to engage in more community outreach, enhance learning opportunities outside the classroom and diversity and as part of their outlined strategic plan. ACCE has a collaborative partnership with the College of Education and Health Professionals, where ACCE class instruction is held, for students to volunteer within the ACCE classroom. Additionally, ACCE students lead discussions in classrooms to share their experiences in the secondary special education system.