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First Summit to focus April 14 on college programs for students with intellectual/developmental disability

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

OKLAHOMA CITY  —  Developing, expanding and improving higher education options for students with intellectual or developmental disability will be the focus of the first inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) conference ever held in Oklahoma.

“We have never had a summit or conference that focuses solely on college programs for students with intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) in our state,” Julie Lackey said. “Comprehensive, inclusive college programs are changing the outcome for these students, leading to over 64% percent of the graduates pursuing careers in competitive wage jobs. 

“Comparing that number to disability statistics that show only 26% percent of those with cognitive disability are employed, these programs can be life-changing,” Lackey added.

Lackey is director of the OK IPSE Alliance, a partnership between Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation ServicesSooner SUCCESS, and Oklahoma State Department of Education

The OKIPSE Alliance will host the IPSE Summit from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 14, at MetroTech Springlake Conference Center, 1900 Springlake Drive, in Oklahoma City.

The Summit will bring together leadership from IPSE programs in Oklahoma and Texas and experts from Think College Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Lackey encourages educators, parents, guardians, advocates, students and agency representatives who interact with this student population to pre-register.  In addition, representatives from universities, career tech and community colleges interested in beginning an IPSE program are encouraged to attend.  

Conference attendees will hear a national perspective regarding IPSE programs, participate in break-out sessions led by program experts and hear from students attending IPSE programs. They can also gather information from vendors providing resources and assistance, and connect with others interested in IPSE programs.

Oklahoma’s four successful IPSE programs will share about their programs at the SUMMIT: Riverhawks Scholar Program at Northeastern State University, Opportunity Orange Scholars at Oklahoma State University, Sooner Works at the University of Oklahoma and Neill-Wint Center for Neurodiversity at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Aggie ACHIEVE at Texas A&M University, TU CASA at Texas A&M University in San Antonio and UNT ELEVAR at the University of North Texas will also share their experiences.

“While college is not for everyone, for those that want to follow that dream, these programs provide the gateway to better employment and community engagement and help our state by contributing to the workforce,” Lackey said. “Students who want to learn about their career interests and being as independent as possible have a significantly improved outcome for employment compared to students with IDD who go straight into the workforce after high School.” 

The IPSE movement began more than 15 years ago. More than 300 programs currently exist in the United States.

Oklahoma's first IPSE program began in 2017.

Participants must pre-register at OK TX Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Summit.

The cost to attend is $40 per person and includes a light breakfast and box lunch. Students may select the "Student Panel Session" ticket and attend an afternoon student panel at no cost.

For questions, visit Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Oklahoma Texas/Summit or email info@okipsealliance.org. Please use the email address to request disability accommodations.

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For more information

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director

Cell: 405-203-1318 

Last Modified on Mar 28, 2023