New Durham College program will offer increased post-secondary opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, learning challenges and other identified needs

March 15, 2007

Community Integration through Co-operative Education program to launch this fall

OSHAWA, Ont. – The result of almost two years of planning and partnering with key community stakeholders, business leaders, and parents, Durham College announced today that it is launching a new program this September that will deliver workplace-ready skills and opportunities for further post-secondary study to individuals with intellectual disabilities, brain injuries, mental health issues, and other learning challenges. 

Community Integration through Co-operative Education (CICE) is a two-year program that will enable students to learn the skills they need to be employed by placing them in an integrated and supported educational setting that will ensure their growth academically, socially, and emotionally. Twenty-five seats will be offered this September. 

Students will also develop job skills through a number of career-related, supervised field placement opportunities that will enable them to receive on-the-job training from leading employers across Durham Region and beyond. Graduates will be able to find work in a variety of jobs, depending upon their area of study, or go on to pursue further studies. 

“Durham College is very proud to introduce our new Community Integration through Co-operative Education program, which was born out of an identified need in our communities and then acted upon by a dedicated group of leaders at the college and in the community in a true demonstration of partnership,” said Leah Myers, president, Durham College. “This program will significantly increase access to post-secondary education for people with intellectual disabilities, learning challenges and other identified needs. Durham College is proud to be a champion for all learners and celebrates the diversity of all our students.”

Depending on abilities and interest, CICE students will experience college life each semester by choosing courses that have been modified to fit their academic needs from most program areas and attending classes with their peers. They will also study core programming common to all CICE students and receive supports such as curriculum, assignment and test modifications; note taking; tutoring; and more. 

Among the program goals are full inclusion of CICE students in all aspects of college life; providing the opportunity for the development of increased self-esteem; promoting the opportunity to make choices; presenting students with opportunities to interact and develop friendships; encouraging students to work co-operatively with other students towards educational goals; combining resources to meet the individual needs of a diverse range of students; and broadening employment opportunities.

“Along with being of great benefit to the students, the CICE program will also help promote greater acceptance of individual differences across our campuses,” said Myers. “I’m also tremendously pleased with the extensive community involvement in the program development process as it fits into the college’s goal of actively pursuing and delivering on new partnership and business opportunities and relationships.” 

The launch of the program can be traced back almost two years to summer 2005. A group of Durham Region parents formed the Action Committee on College Education for Students with Special Needs (ACCESS) in response to their desire to increase the number of post-secondary educational opportunities for children with learning challenges.

A focus group of community and academic stakeholders, including Durham College faculty, was formed in January 2006 with representation from parents; boards of education; social service agencies such as the Oshawa Clarington Association for Community Living and the Durham Down Syndrome Association; and employers from local and regional areas. The partners agreed that the college should begin the development of the CICE program and subsequent meetings were held with curriculum advisors to review a program proposal, proposed curriculum, and admission criteria.

“The CICE program is a wonderful reflection of Durham College’s valued partnerships and the ongoing community support it receives,” said Judy Spring, dean of the Durham College School of Integrated Studies, which will oversee the new program. “A number of key stakeholders played important roles in the development of this program and in helping Durham College ensure it is relevant, timely and able to provide students with the skills they need to find jobs or additional academic pathways to further post-secondary study. We look forward to welcoming the first class of students this fall.”

Among the program admission requirements are an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or Certificate or mature student status, along with specific CICE program admission criteria that includes a demonstrated academic need that requires program modification to succeed; a willingness to participate fully in the program; a level of independence that precludes constant support; and an ability to get to and from college and field placement.


About Durham College
For close to 40 years, Durham College has provided high-demand programs, professors with real-world experience, the latest technology, and an unwavering commitment to student success. Number one in the Greater Toronto Area based on a combined ranking in the areas of student, graduate, and employer satisfaction; graduate employment; and graduation rate for seven years running according to the provincial government’s indicator surveys, the college also has the highest graduate employment rate – 93.1 per cent – of all six GTA colleges. The college has close to 6,000 full-time and 23,000 part-time students enrolled in over 100 programs and courses and over 1,500 apprentices. For more information, visit the website or call 905.721.2000.

Media contact:

Tony Doyle
Communications and Marketing
905.721.3111 ext. 2209


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