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Mercyhurst Oasis Program awarded $43K grant

Since 2008, the Oasis Program at Mercyhurst North East has been opening the doors of higher education for adults with intellectual disabilities. Now, thanks to two new funding sources, even more students will be able to take advantage of this unique program, which provides the academic and vocational training needed to land jobs.

A $43,000 grant from the DREAM Partnership will enable students to experience college as a resident rather than commuter. In addition, the new funding will support both the one-year vocational certificate program and the two-year career exploratory program. Current certificates include Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, and Early Childhood Education, while a Business certificate is proposed for 2016-17. In addition, students may work with program staff to develop unique certificates based on students’ individual strengths paired with job-market trends and expectations.

The Mercyhurst OASIS Program is an inclusive postsecondary education program, whose intent is twofold. First, to provide academic enrichment, enhanced socialization, increased independent living skills, and the attainment of competitive employment for students with developmental and intellectual disabilities within post-secondary settings. Second, to assist businesses and organizations in the tri-state area to serve and employ individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Within the past year, the Oasis Program also received approval from the U.S. Department of Education as a designated Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program, allowing eligible students federal aid to attend.

For more information on how to apply for the program, contact the Program Director Jim Conroy 814-725-6299, jconroy@mercyhurst.edu, or faculty advisor Phil Belfiore, 814-824-2267, pbelfiore@mercyhurst.edu.