This one-year program gives adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities the opportunity to earn a proficiency-based certificate in a college setting. The unique, non-credit program gives students the opportunity to learn academic and vocational skills alongside traditional students pursuing similar vocational interests. Students are also provided the opportunity to learn important social and “soft” skills that are pivotal for employment.
Who can apply?
The Oasis Program is geared toward adults ages 18 and up with documented intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Students who attend the Oasis Program typically had an IEP or 504 Plan in school. They do not meet the general admissions requirements for Mercyhurst University’s traditional degree or certificate programs – or they feel strongly that they would not be successful in pursuing such a degree.
Participants need to have some basic math and reading skills and be able to perform all physical lab and related tasks safely. Participants must have some form of functional communication that they can engage in within a variety of environments. Successful participants will also have developed ways to appropriately manage their behavior in stressful or unexpected situations. Participants need to be able to manage themselves appropriately when left unattended.
Participants that are interested in living on campus must have demonstrated the ability to care for themselves without the direct/regular assistance of an attending adult.
What does the program include?
Oasis students will time each week at the beautiful Mercyhurst North East campus attending college classes. During class time, Oasis students are accompanied by program staff who take notes and adapt assignments. In class, students will learn basic skills that are applicable to their vocational path. During tutorial sessions, students will have the opportunity to review course material with the assistance of mentors and other program staff. Additionally, tutorial sessions will cover the introduction and instruction of additional social and vocational skills. Skills such as introductions and social engagement, searching and applying for jobs, and basic job interview preparation are highlights of the year-long tutorial curriculum.
All Oasis students will complete a 60-hour internship upon completion of their in-class instruction. The program culminates with a graduation ceremony in the summer.
What are the other benefits?
Oasis students are provided with a Mercyhurst ID, which grants them access to the e bus service, free of charge. They can also enjoy university facilities and services including the library, swimming pool, social events hosted by student government and more!
1. Send completed and signed application (2016-2017 Oasis Program Application) to the Oasis Program Office
Oasis Program at Mercyhurst University - The North East Campus
16 West Division Street
North East, PA 16428
2. Arrange with your high school and/or other previous educational institutions to have your most recent Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Behavior Plan, and/or 504 Plan (and accompanying ER or RR), in addition to your final transcript, sent to the Oasis Office. Please complete necessary releases of information as required by issuing institutions.
3. Arrange with any applicable service providers to have appropriate documentation of disability sent to the Oasis Office. This documentation is required from a licensed psychologist, medical professional, or equivalent. Documentation must have been completed within the past three years. If you have questions regarding what qualifies as "appropriate documentation," please contact our office. Please complete necessary releases of information as required by issuing institutions.
4. Contact at least three non-family members and have them complete and send in the Reference Survey (non-family/guardian) document. They need to send this to the Oasis Program Office with their letter of recommendation.
5. Have one family member or guardian complete the Reference Survey (family/guardian) document. They need to send this to the Oasis Program Office.
Once we have received your application and all of the required components, our Advisory Committee will review the included information. Following the review of application documents, we will invite qualified students for an interview as the next step of the application process.
If you have any questions, please contact the Oasis Program at (814) 725-6299.
Click Here for more information on Ruby's Rainbow, which is an organization that provides scholarships to individuals with Down Syndrome.
James W. Conroy, MS
James W. Conroy is the Oasis Program director at Mercyhurst North East. He received his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, and graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Master of Science degree in special education and concentration in applied behavior analysis in 2015. Originally from New Jersey, James previously worked as an aide in a special needs classroom. While in graduate school, he also served as a graduate assistant with the Mercyhurst North East wrestling team and intern with the Oasis Program. In his spare time, James enjoys fishing, camping and helping out with the MNE wrestling team.