Institute for Innovative Transition Receives Grant to Launch Think College NY! Initiative

Think College logoThe Institute for Innovative Transition at the University of Rochester has been awarded a $15,000 Think College grant to conduct statewide planning for inclusive postsecondary education options for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Institute for Innovative Transition, housed at Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (SCDD), is one of eight University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) nationwide to receive a Think College grant from the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, with funding from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

The grant will allow the Institute for Innovative Transition to collaborate with the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University over the next nine months on state level strategic planning to implement an inclusive postsecondary initiative statewide. The Institute will then sustain and continue project activities after the initial funding and planning period.

“Historically speaking, high school students with intellectual and developmental disabilities have had few, if any, opportunities and support to attend college,” says Martha Mock, director of the Institute who also holds joint appointments at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education and in the Department of Pediatrics in the Medical School. “Increasing inclusive postsecondary education options will provide them with a valuable link to the school-life transition that will ultimately help to increase their outcomes for employability and independence.”

The Institute for Innovative Transition is well poised to lead this statewide planning effort as it has already made progress locally in addressing this transition issue in the higher education community and community at large.

This past summer, the Golisano Foundation hosted a group of university and college presidents, representing nearly a dozen local higher education institutions, who joined forces and formed a new consortium, the Western New York Consortium on Campus-Based Opportunities (WNYCCO), that will allow these institutions to work together to provide a range of inclusive supports and programs to students with developmental disabilities. The WNYCCO is an initiative of the Institute for Innovative Transition.

Launched in 2008 with a $600,000 grant from the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, and in partnership with the Warner School and Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities, the Institute aims to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families as they transition from school age to adulthood.

Contact: Theresa Danylak

Tags: Golisano Foundation, Institute for Innovative Transition, Martha Mock