October is a month that highlights several heritage, pride, and awareness observances – including Disability Awareness Month and Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
MSU’s first cohort of Bear POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Work, Education and Resilience) students began in January of 2019. The Bear POWER mission is, “To effectively utilize existing campus and community resources to create an inclusive academic college program that generates individual outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities in the areas of education and employment.” Bear POWER is a two-year, five-semester inclusive college program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program that was created to offer a post-secondary education opportunity to students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) transitioning out of high school. The program starts in Spring Semester and extends five full semesters, not including summer, with graduation in May. Each cohort will include up to ten students. The four pillars of Bear POWER are: academic, social, independent living, and job readiness. Bear POWER is highly focused on maintaining academic standards through modification of coursework and preparing students for employment upon graduation from the program.
Bear POWER is partnering with several community organizations including: ARC of the Ozarks, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Abilities First, [/www.wc-partners.net]WC Partners of Webster County, Developmental Connections of Taney County, Stone County Developmental Disability Board, CC Links of Christian County (surrounding county SB40 Boards) and Springfield Public Schools to draw upon their resources in Springfield and in the surrounding area. Partnerships like these allow Bear POWER to create internship explorations and assist in the identification of possible student participants, who may begin as early as their junior year of high school.
Registration is currently open for the Bear POWER Fall Open House, which will be on Saturday, November 9, 2019.