About the Campaign
Southeast Missouri State University is seeking financial support to develop and sustain Redhawks Discover, an academic program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Redhawks Discover will create opportunities for participants to develop the social, life, and workplace skills necessary to foster independence beyond high school.
Redhawks Discover will begin in fall 2021 as a residential, two-year, cohort-based program serving approximately 10 new students annually. A person-centered planning approach will be used, focusing on students’ goals, strengths, and needs to create an individualized course of study.
Field experience, internships, and part-time employment with University and community partners will be established. Students who successfully complete the program will earn a Certificate of Supportive Employment.
Demand for inclusive higher education is growing. In the U.S. there are over 270 transition and postsecondary programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with four in Missouri. Most programs are funded through student program fees, external gifts, and institutional funds.
According to the 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, Missouri ranks 31st in the nation in terms of the employment rate for people with disabilities. Nationwide, 111,804 people with disabilities got new jobs last year, including 8,040 in Missouri. Currently, 79.8 percent of working age individuals in Missouri without a disability are employed while only 37.1 percent of working age individuals with a disability are employed.
On February 1, 2019, Governor Mike Parson announced that Missouri aspires to become a Model Employer state for individuals with disabilities. Missouri will receive mentorship through the U.S. Department of Labor in support of this goal. “This classification is an emerging trend developed by the National Governors Association to help more people with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment.”