In 2007, Kingsborough Community College (KCC), Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), and College of Staten Island (CSI), all part of the City University of New York (CUNY), opened their doors to AHRC New York City students with developmental disabilities who attend the AHRC NYC Melissa Riggio Higher Education Programs.

AHRC NYC’s college programs are designed to prepare people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities for adult life through higher education coursework, career exploration and preparation, self-awareness, and socialization. All the programs engage students in supporting individual academic, vocational, community, and social experiences. These students have the same opportunities for social and personal growth as other young adults who attend college.

To ensure the best learning environment, college students in good standing are paired with AHRC NYC students with developmental disabilities to answer questions and to provide support. This creates a comfortable academic atmosphere that facilitates learning for students with disabilities.

About the Grant

To further encourage people with disabilities to attend college, The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities, (TPSID,) model grant for the second time to the Institute for Innovative Transition. The purpose of the $2.5 million grant is to create new and expand existing inclusive college programs within CUNY. This model projects to serve at least seventy-five people with intellectual disabilities, ages 18 to 25 each year, to increase their likelihood of being hired after college. Several graduates have been hired to work for AHRC NYC as Community Support Professionals. Furthermore, government statistics show that the employment rate of students has doubled since the creation of the TPSID programs.

Motivation and the right supports can go a long way,” says Dr. Carole GothelfDirector of Individualized Services.  AHRC NYC’s Melissa Riggio Higher Education team, Dr. Carole Gothelf, Katarina Chatzistyli, Matthew Weiler, Andrew Pfadt-Trilling, and Ife Okoh, anticipate the positive impact the grant will have on the higher education programs.