UI REACH provides students with disabilities independent skills - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI REACH provides students with disabilities independent skills with college experience

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Education, post-high school, is an option for students with learning disabilities thanks to programs like the University of Iowa's REACH.

UI REACH was brought to the attention of many after a video of an overjoyed teenager with Down syndrome learned his dream of going to college was coming true after reading his acceptance letter to the program.

That teen, Carter, will join the program in the fall.

There are 58 students currently enrolled in the program. They attend classes, live in the dorms, and partake in activities like any other college student does.

"Our program is designed to help them become independent, to become self-advocates, and to develop the skills they need in order to get a job and to keep a job," Pam Reis, the UI REACH Director, said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor (2015), only 17.5% of people with disabilities hold either a full or part-time job. Two years after graduating the UI REACH program, these students have nearly an 80% employment rate.

An experience, these students are more than thankful for.

"I'm just glad that I'm able to be apart of this program that UI REACH exists in the first place. If UI REACH wasn't around during my time, I'm not sure where I'd be in the future. So I really am thankful that this program exists today," Tyson Bedford, a UI REACH student, said.

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