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New 2-Year Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

The BUILD program is a two-year postsecondary program for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Bethel University is launching a new program for students with intellectual disabilities. The two-year postsecondary program – called Bethel University Inclusive Learning and Development (BUILD) – will begin in the fall of 2015.

“We are excited to start this new program at Bethel,” says Deb Harless, executive vice president and provost. “BUILD will offer students dynamic and encouraging instruction, career-oriented curriculum, specialized mentorship, and on-campus living that is boldly influenced by the Christian faith.”

The residential program will focus on academic, vocational, residential, and social learning experiences. Bethel will provide students with the skills and education necessary to live independently, maintain meaningful employment, and value lifelong learning. After successfully completing the program’s requirements, students will earn an applied skills certificate with an emphasis in health or human services, business (IT), or education.

“At the core of the BUILD program is the belief that all students can learn. BUILD students are provided individualized support through appropriate accommodations,” says Pamela Erwin, associate dean for professional programs in the College of Arts & Sciences. “Faculty teaching in the program will use a set of principles for curriculum development that provides all individuals with equal opportunities to learn and they will integrate faith into their instruction.”

BUILD students will complete 40-50 credits to attain an applied skills certificate. Those credits will include core courses, internships, and other selected Bethel University courses. Core course topics will include independent living, social skills, math and finances, and jobs and employment. Other courses will include Bible and theology classes as well as physical education classes.

Each semester BUILD students also will be involved in an internship for six to 12 hours per week. The first-year internships will be arranged on campus, while the second-year internships will be off campus.

Learn more about the program or apply. Applications for fall 2015 will be accepted until the end of October. Twelve students will be accepted to the inaugural class.

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