A-B Tech to receive state funding to expand support for students with disabilities

News release from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College:
A-B Tech is poised to expand its support for students with disabilities. The college was one of 15 NC community colleges approved by the State Board of Community Colleges on February 16 for participation in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Student Workforce Training Program.
Participating in the IDD program will enable A-B Tech to hire a full-time coordinator to support students with intellectual and development disabilities with the development, access, and achievement of their college plans. The coordinator also will support the growth of programs and services accessible to these students across the college.

In November 2023, the NC Community College System received $4 million in recurring funds to create a regional support network for job training and employer networking for IDD students. It is an expansion of a successful pilot program at Catawba Valley Community College and Brunswick Community College that helped IDD students earn credentials and skills for the workforce.

 A-B Tech’s current IDD programing includes Successful Occupational Achievement Readiness (SOAR), a free two-year program launched in fall 2023, that helps students build skills, fine-tune goals, and earn micro credentials that align with their chosen life and career paths.  A group of eight SOAR students just completed a class in January called Working Smart that focused on skills such as problem solving, communication and time management.

Through another existing program, Project SEARCH, A-B Tech students work with the Biltmore Estate in internships that prepare them for jobs with local employers. Graduates have found employment at businesses, including Lowes, Mission Hospital and MOD Pizza.

Coordinator of Adult Basic Education Dr. Barbara Fedock presently oversees the SOAR program, coordinating with instructors across campus and designing curriculum that caters to students’ specific interests and needs. Fedock said that being able to hire a new IDD coordinator will help A-B Tech expand programs such as SOAR and SEARCH.
“We can do wider recruiting, coaching and mentoring,” she said. “Right now, we’re doing it on a small scale. Now it can be a larger scale.”
The new coordinator position will allow Fedock to focus on additional program development, advocacy and promotion for the college’s IDD programs. “[The coordinator] and I will work together to identify clear pathways for in-demand occupations,” she said. “This will enrich the program we already have.”
Learn more at abtech.edu/SOAR or abtech.edu/project-search or call 828-398-7131.
About A-B Tech
Founded in 1959 in the heart of Asheville, A-B Tech is the largest higher education institution in Western North Carolina, serving approximately 23,000 students a year in Buncombe and Madison counties. One of 58 community colleges in the NC Community College System, A-B Tech offers 150 degrees, diplomas and certificates, as well as a wide range of workforce training and continuing education programs. A-B Tech includes the main Asheville campus, A-B Tech Enka (home of the A-B Tech Small Business Center and Business Incubation Program, Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast and N.C. BioNetwork), A-B Tech Madison, A-B Tech Woodfin, the Goodwill Center and the ABCCM Transformation Village in West Asheville, and a future location at Biltmore Park West. Learn more at abtech.edu.
About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email news@mountainx.com.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.