New post-secondary opportunites at University of Lethbridge and Portage College

July 16, 2018

Minister Irfan Sabir and a crowd at the University of Lethbridge to announce new inclusive post-secondary programs. The crowd at the University of Lethbridge for the announcement. photo: Government of Alberta

Inclusion Alberta is excited to announce that Alberta is adding to its world-leading number of inclusive post-secondary initiatives with the University of Lethbridge and Portage College accepting students with developmental disabilities this fall. Funding is being provided by the Ministry of Community and Social Services to enable Inclusion Alberta, which is internationally-recognized as the leader in developing inclusive post-secondary education, to create these two new partnerships.

Inclusion Alberta president Barb MacIntyre, who is herself a parent of a post-secondary graduate with developmental disabilities, stated “We’re elated that the Ministry of Community and Social Services has agreed to fund Inclusion Alberta to develop new inclusive post-secondary education initiatives in partnership with the University of Lethbridge and Portage College. As my son had the opportunity for an inclusive education at school and university, I know the amazing difference these new opportunities will offer young adults with developmental disabilities in realizing their future aspirations.”

Inclusion Alberta now supports students on 14 university and college campuses to be fully included in regular programs of studies and faculties, with close to 80% of students completing their studies going on to secure employment. This is in stark contrast to the fact that the vast majority of adults with developmental disabilities are unemployed. In addition, professors, instructors and administrators have all acknowledged the benefits students with developmental disabilities bring to their classrooms and campuses.

“I began my career in helping to develop the world’s first university-based inclusive post-secondary education initiative more than 30 years ago. I am thrilled that, this fall, six more young people with developmental disabilities will join the hundreds of others that have proven, through their successful inclusion in university and college, that what many think is impossible is a reality,” said Inclusion Alberta CEO Trish Bowman.

Chris Rowley now sees himself as a potential university student. “I am really excited for the opportunity to hopefully study at the U of L one day. It’s also inspiring to see more opportunities for people with developmental disabilities in higher learning. I can’t wait to see how this will grow.”

We are appreciative of the funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, which supports students to be included, and the funding from Advanced Education which enables us to coordinate and lead the development of inclusive post-secondary education in Alberta.