at Bellevue College is an innovative 90 credit associate degree program unlike
any other program in the nation. This program gives adults with cognitive
disabilities the opportunity to acquire an accredited college degree that leads
to post-graduation employment rates well above the national average. The
curriculum is occupational and life skills based taught through scaffolded
instruction and universal design. All OLS courses focus on developing critical
thinking skills, soft skills, and self-determination skills. Courses
incorporate service learning in the community with local businesses as a way to
help students utilize new skills outside of the classroom. Students create a
career pathway over a 3 year period that is specific to their self-identified
skills, strengths, and passions. An internship of 200 hours related to that
career pathway is completed during their last 2 quarters. This internship is
mutually beneficial for both the business partner and the intern. Some
internships translate into jobs and most students are employed in their career
pathway within 3 months after graduation.
OLS students are eligible for state and federal financial aid. Students with
the greatest financial need may attend with minimal financial contribution.
All OLS courses focus on developing critical thinking
skills, social skills, and self-determination skills. Specialized scaffolded
instruction infused with 21st Century skills assists student to learn college
content that is directly related to a student’s career pathway and life.
Courses include service learning in the community with local businesses.