Uniquely abled academy returns to SCC

KEYC News Now at 6 Recording
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 10:20 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The South Central College program that gives individuals with autism hands-on training for a career in manufacturing returns to campus.

”It is a program that parents and families need.”

Uniquely Abled Academy returns to SCC after a successful year.

“A lot of opportunities aren’t available post high school for people with disabilities. So it’s a huge opportunity to get them into high paying jobs.And so there’s a couple programs specific for people with disabilities post college, but really focusing on people with Autism and with a high paying job is awesome. So it’s really creating an opportunity that wasn’t there before,” said program coordinator Kristin Underwood.

Last year, the program graduated nine students, three of which are working full time in the community. some returned to SCC, and others took different career paths.

“I’ve talked to families on the phone that are desperate for an opportunity for their kid because they see so much potential in their child, but it just hasn’t been connected in the world of work,” said Underwood.

Jon Morgan teaches in the program.

“Well in the classroom with the students who want to succeed, I’m there to help them. Not only in the classroom, even after they graduate from the uniquely abled Academy, they can feel free to contact me and I will help guide their career paths. Anyway, I can,” said Morgan.

Yet like many people, Jon had no formal training in working with individuals with autism. Which is why a coach was there to guide the student-teacher relationship.

“That’s her full-time role and so together Courtney learned all about CNC operating and John and Bill learned all about working with people with autism. So it was like the perfect pairing where now they’re able to support people in the classroom with autism not only through uniquely able to Academy, but also through the mainstream program here at South Central College,” added Underwood.

“So it was really good to work with, you know, the para Courtney and me and Kristen and students. It was a unique collaborative effort to get the students to graduation,” added Morgan.

With a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services the cost would be $2,500 per student. Yet, there are students who could receive support from DEED for the remaining cost of the program. All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply by May 1.