The Academic and Career Achievement Program is a custom-tailored program at South Arkansas Community College that offers students a unique post-secondary opportunity to further their formal education and become self-reliant. The conceptual framework depicts four standards as cornerstones of practice: academic access, career development, campus inclusion and self-determination.
Students in our program, who are ages 18 to 29, have some form of intellectual or neurological disability that has impaired normal growth and function. Typically, students enter ACAP as “under-employable”; increased employability is a key goal. Additionally, these students often have been subjected to emotional trauma’s resulting in extremely low self-esteem. ACAP seeks to build confidence.
Following graduation from the program, one student said that he was excited because he achieved one of his life goals. He went on to gain employment in a local restaurant. Through ACAP’s partnership with a local retailer, another student was able to show and sell her paintings, which she called “a dream come true.”
ACAP at SouthArk is an incubator for success! Our students come to us suffering from years of physical trauma and emotional abuse resulting in feelings of “I can’t do anything right,” or simply “I have no value.” The mission of ACAP is to empower individuals to live, learn, work and participate in the social fabric of our community. We believe, given the opportunity and proper support, all individuals can achieve academic success, successful careers and personal growth. When our students graduate from the program, their self-esteem has been rebuilt on a solid foundation of positive affirmation and education which results in an “I can” attitude.
The ultimate goal of the ACAP program is to allow students with special needs to have an inclusive college experience by attending classes, abiding by college rules and participating in college activities and events, all while preparing for gainful employment after graduation from the program.