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Jump!Start Celebrates Graduation, Unique Northwoods Program

Nicolet Area Technical College

An innovative approach to inclusive post-secondary education for adult learners with intellectual disabilities had their graduation ceremonies Friday.

The program is based at Nicolet College in Rhinelander and is designed for students who require more than the traditional level of support in order to be successful in a college environment.

Katherine Garrison is Jump!Start liaison.

She says the program is just one of six of its type in Wisconsin and the only program in northern Wisconsin.

"....we have younger students in high school and we also have older, lifelong learners that might want to go back into the workforce or they just might want to take some classes and learn some new things...."

Ten students graduated from the program. Program provides individualized goal setting, increased employability and independent living skills, work experience and work options, access to college coursework, networking and social connections within the community...

"....we offer starting in the fall, more classes for these students. They will be moving into more traditional classes if they choose to or for programs to get them ready for work...."

A Jump! Start program graduate is Jonathan Ankrom who is continuing to take classes at Nicolet. He was asked how the classes he's now taking are compared to the Jump!Start classes...

"....they have different styles..."(Krall) 'when you get your degree, what are you hoping to have for a job?'(Ankrom)probably like a restaurant business or something...."

The program is a partnership among Nicolet College, the Northland Pines, Rhinelander, and Crandon School Districts, Headwaters, Inc., and the Human Service Center.

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