Seventeen agencies serving individuals with disabilities participated in a reception Wednesday evening to announce a new bachelor's degree program in developmental disabilities that will be offered by Niagara University's College of Education.
This new bachelor of arts degree program was developed in partnership with many community-based agencies that serve young adults and adults with disabilities. Niagara University's program is designed to create a workforce to serve the changing needs of an estimated population of more than 4.7 million individuals with developmental disabilities, and to address the succession planning issues within the agencies serving these individuals.
Applications are now being accepted for the fall of 2013.
"The program is an extension of the partnerships we currently have with Opportunities Unlimited and the Special Olympics," stated Dr. Vince Rinaldo, chair of NU's department of middle and secondary education. "Many of our students have an opportunity to work directly with young adults and adults with developmental disabilities, and go on to seek careers within the fields of rehabilitation and nonprofit leadership."
Upon completion of this degree, graduates will be qualified to pursue employment in family support services or as part of the direct support workforce, which includes rehabilitation, habitation, career planning, independent living and Medicaid services, among others.
"The opportunity for university-community partnerships in this field of study is the core of this program as our focus on clinical practice extends across all programs that we offer," commented Dr. Debra Colley, dean of the College of Education. "Undergraduate students in the developmental disabilities program will work directly in agency settings as they navigate the roles and responsibilities in the service delivery system. We look forward to establishing these new strategic partnerships and working with the community to meet their workforce development needs."
The developmental disabilities program is comprised of 124 credit hours of coursework that will provide graduates with a focus on the delivery of services to individuals with disabilities within an agency setting. The program includes a culminating practicum within a partnering agency and a related seminar where students will be granted training that will lead to certification in Medicaid, Investigative Training, and SKIP. The program offers a transfer and degree completion pathway, as well as the opportunity for credit-for-life experience.
For information, call 716-286-8560 or visit www.niagara.edu/education.