COA receives State Board Funding for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Training Program – OBX Today

College of The Albemarle (COA) is pleased to announce the allocation of $194,000 in recurring funds from the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges to implement the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Training Program. This initiative greatly supports our commitment to offering inclusive educational opportunities and improving employment outcomes for students with IDD.

Of 30 applicants, COA was chosen as one of 15 colleges to participate in the program. The funding will expand educational components, including employability skills and work-based learning opportunities for students with IDD.

At COA, our dedicated team, which includes the Adult Basic Education Transitional Opportunities Coordinator, CORE (Credential Opportunities to Reach Employment) Instructor, and Director of College and Career Readiness, has been instrumental in ensuring our educational offerings cater to the strengths and barriers of the IDD population. Adding an Access to Achievement Coordinator will further our efforts, enhancing career pathway information, fostering coordination with external stakeholders, and strengthening transitional efforts for students.

College of The Albemarle currently offers two programs for IDD students: COAST (College of The Albemarle Skills Training) Academy and CORE Academy. These eight-week sessions, conducted during the summer months, are designed to equip students with basic academic skills, life skills, social skills, and soft skills. They culminate in the attainment of either a certificate or industry-recognized credential.

“Our college has been proactive in providing IDD students with access to certificate, credential, and degree programs, including micro-credentials. This funding will allow us to embed these credentials into our instruction further and meet students where they are, ensuring their successful program completion,” said Dr. Kimberly Gregory, COA Director of College and Career Readiness. “We are poised to identify workforce stakeholders as potential employers for our students and to partner with mentors, job coaches, and job shadowing opportunities. In doing so, we are creating opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to transition seamlessly into the workforce.”

College of The Albemarle’s wrap-around services for IDD students provide a strong foundation for success. With this grant, we aim to enhance these services, conduct follow-ups for vocational or employment activities, and foster community partnerships.

College of The Albemarle’s College and Career Readiness program partners with B3 (Being, Belonging, Becoming) Coffee out of Chapel Hill, NC. B3 Coffee, founded by Jacklyn Goggins-Bohler, is a non-profit coffee shop that provides positive visibility and community connection for people of all abilities. The B3 Coffee Shop in the Dolphins Den at COA – Elizabeth City is open Monday and Wednesday from 9-11 a.m., providing students with work-based learning opportunities.

“This initiative is so important to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at College of The Albemarle,” stated COA President Dr. Jack Bagwell. “By fostering an inclusive educational environment, every student can succeed and transform their tomorrow. College of The Albemarle embraces and supports all individuals pursuing training and education to provide them with better skills, better jobs, and a better future.”

College of The Albemarle has the largest service area within the North Carolina Community College System, which positions us to impact the IDD community greatly. This funding will not only amplify our programming and educational opportunities but also reinforce our mission to serve and uplift the rural communities within our service area.