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TPSID Profile: The Career and Life Studies Certificate Program at the University of Delaware

In August 2011, 13 students began the new two-year Career and Life Studies Certificate (CLSC) program at the University of Delaware (UD), which is overseen by the Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS), a University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) in the College of Education and Human Development.

Students who complete the program receive a certificate from UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies.

CLSC is one component of the University of Delaware’s Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) grant. In year three of this five-year grant, CDS will provide technical assistance and support across the state to assist other colleges and universities in the development of similar programs.

The CLSC program recognizes that an individual needs more than job skills to be successful; therefore, it concentrates on skills in various domains that will help students achieve success in the workplace. The curriculum includes teaching the social skills students need to adapt to diverse environments, navigation skills to make their way through the community, and communication skills to successfully network with faculty and peers. CLSC integrates person-centered planning in the development of each student’s course of study and includes peer mentoring and staff coaching as needed.

Learning skills to become independent and taking UD classes are among the reasons many CLSC students, including Andie D., Matt K., and Aaron P. gave for applying to the program. After she earns her certificate, Andie wants to attend college and earn a degree in animal science (see photo below). She has joined Students for the Animals at UD and is taking a theater class. Matt is involved in two service organizations, UDance and Lori’s Hands, joined the Chocolate Club, and goes to the campus gym regularly. CLSC is giving Aaron the opportunity to explore his interest in agriculture: he joined the UD chapter of Future Farmers of America and did some work on the UD farm as part of Disability Mentoring Day.

Coaches and mentors, including UD undergraduate students, are an integral part of the CLSC program. They support students as they become more integrated into the UD campus community, and are available to help all students plan and work through such daily tasks as completing assignments and getting around campus.

For more information on the CLSC program, contact Brian Freedman at brianf@udel.edu.

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CLSC student Andie (at right)