FSCJ was joined by parents, students and the community at the recent Project Achieve Graduation on August 20, 2015 at FSCJ Downtown Campus.
The ceremony’s guest speaker was Professor Joel Williams from Edward Waters College.
Project Achieve is a collaboration of FSCJ, Duval County Public Schools and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. The program provides a comprehensive, inclusion-model vocational training program at a postsecondary institution for students from Duval and surrounding counties with intellectual or developmental disabilities. This group of students is typically hindered from access to higher education due to their special high school diploma designation.
This year, 11 students from Project Achieve graduated from seven of FSCJ’s Workforce Certificate programs including Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing, Automotive Service Technology, Facials Specialty, Applied Welding Technologies, Family Child Care Training, Building Trades and Construction Design Technology, and Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology.
In addition to the Workforce Certificate program participation, Project Achieve students also receive additional instruction in academics, career readiness and self-determination. Prior to this year’s graduation, many Project Achieve students had completed internships and work experiences that add tremendous value to their employability. The goal of Project Achieve support at FSCJ is to ensure that students with unique abilities are able to hone their skills in a specific trade, then apply those skills to fulfilling careers that allow for a reduced reliance on public assistance and increased independence.
Instructor Ethel Still-Richardson explains, “with promising student outcomes and improving logistical support for long-term sustainability, Project Achieve is poised to be a primary postsecondary option for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to enter the workforce.” Students with unique abilities all over the country are seeking opportunities to continue their education and training in order to improve access to employment. With Project Achieve, FSCJ is leading the way by providing this unique opportunity for students in our area.
This year, Project Achieve is adding its own Workforce certificated program in Career Education to the mix. The new program allows students to receive college-level career readiness training as a stepping stone to additional vocational education or entry level employment. “The opportunity is virtually limitless,” says Project Achieve Coordinator Rachel Rippey. “Students can come into our program with little more than a willingness to pinpoint a meaningful career, and we are now able to guide and support them in meeting that outcome, whether it means connecting them to additional coursework, or finding relevant work experiences to start them on a path toward the job of their dreams.”
Project Achieve will continue providing opportunities to 14 new students this fall.
For more information about Project Achieve, call (904) 633-8456, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit fscj.edu/academics/VERTICAL.