MCTC program will assist students with disabilities

For the 2011-2012 academic year, Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) has added TriO Disability Student Support Services to the college’s list of TRiO programs.

The mission of TRiO Disability Support Services is to enhance the educational experience by providing students with disabilities a foundation for personal growth, academic skills, career development, cultural enrichment, retention of material, graduation, and help in the process of transferring to a four-year university or college.

The main TRiO program is a diverse package of federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes seven programs targeted to serve and assist low-income students, first-generation college students and students with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. The U.S. Department of Education funds these programs.

TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects.

At MCTC, TRiO Disability Support Student Services works closely with Disability Services and assist students with disabilities to achieve their educational goals. The programs are greatly appreciated by students with disabilities.

“Upon my first entry to MCC, (Minneapolis Community College) in 1993 I had no idea such a program as TRiO existed,” said MCTC student Pwajdeur Swanstrom. “I would have loved to have been involved then, as I am now repeating what I should or could have finished then. Working with Steve Anderson (student advisor) has been a breath of fresh air; there is a kindred connection in our abilities and taste for life of the performing arts. I feel there is nothing holding me back from achieving great heights and bettering myself here at MCTC. I’m confident if there wasn’t such a program as TRIO, I might be repeating my past educational experience again.”

“TRiO helps accomplish my goals as a college student with services such as advising and tutoring,” said MCTC student Hannah Furney.

MCTC has eight different TRiO programs and has served students for several decades. TRiO Disability Support Services focuses exclusively on serving students with disabilities. In fact, it is the only program of its kind in the state of Minnesota.

In order to be eligible for the MCTC program, students with disabilities must demonstrate the need for academic support, and meet one or more of the following criteria. Students must meet income eligibility guidelines. He or she must be a first-generation student, meaning neither parent holds a four-year degree. Students must be serious about earning an associate degree and/or transferring to a four-year college or university.

Once students are in the program a number of services are made available to them including personalized tutoring, intensive academic and career advising, and access to the tools necessary to attain their educational goals. Other supports are also provided to enhance educational needs and access.

The TRiO Disability Support Services Program is located within the Disability Services Office. The staff includes Director Dr. Jennifer Brookins-King, and advisors Jennifer Scheffler and Steve Anderson. Scheffler and Anderson, who were hired in March 2011, came to MCTC with years of experience working within the disability field. They also both uniquely understand the challenge having a disability brings to attaining an education and employment since each of them has education and a disability.