Lone Star College-Tomball (LSC-Tomball) will host an information meeting on the new associate degree for Occupational and Life Skills (OLS) on Thursday, July 25, at 10 am. OLS degree is designed to serve an often overlooked and underserved student population – those with cognitive disabilities. LSC plans to pilot the OLS program at LSC-Tomball this fall. The application deadline for the fall cohort is July 15.
Officials estimate that there are more than 67,000 individuals in Harris and Montgomery counties who have cognitive disabilities and are not employed.
Common effects of cognitive disability include difficulty with initiation, organization and attention which results in limited practical skills, work skills, production and social interaction. Examples of cognitive skills impairments include ADHD/ADD, non-verbal learning disabilities (NVLD), autism, generalized learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury, anxiety disorders and sight impairment.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to students with cognitive disabilities, and their parents, to help them overcome employment barriers and find living wage jobs,” said Dr. Lee Ann Nutt, LSC-Tomball president. “There are currently only two other colleges in the country offering this type of program. Lone Star College will be the first in Texas.”
The OLS Program was developed 14 years ago by Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington and has provided an accredited Associate’s Degree in Occupational and Life Skills for the past seven years. The OLS Program is a cohort model, which means that a group of students progress collectively through the courses. It will serve 12 students in the first year.
The program uses a scaffold approach to learning, which moves students progressively toward stronger understanding of the content and ultimately to becoming independent in the learning process, over eight semesters (four years) and 60 credit hours. Students are also taught 21st Century Learning Skills, skills that they need to function effectively in the computer information age.
A culminating project in the fourth year involves placing students in a work environment to experience limited employment, with supports, and provides students with access to potential employers in the future.
To learn more about the OLS degree program or to RSVP for the information session, visit http://www.lonestar.edu/ols.