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425 Magazine

OLS Featured in 425 Magazine

Click HERE to read about OLS in the March 2015 issue of 425 magazine. 

Bellevue OLS Program Goes National

Bellevue College’s Occupational Life Skills program offers training and an associate’s degree for students with learning disabilities. Since December of 2006, BC has been offering the OLS program to students in the Bellevue community. The program helps students develop their pathway, expand their interpersonal skills, volunteer in their community and participate in internships.

Recently two other schools, the Lone Star College in Houston, Texas, and the Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville have explored creating OLS programs of their own to provide opportunities for education to more people within their community. Both schools will be running pilot programs in the fall.

BC’s OLS National Director Marci Muhlestein said “we are giving other colleges an opportunity to replicate this program and have the same successes, which means more adults employed around the nation."

Continue reading HERE

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Share Night 2014

OLS students and families came together on November 19th for the fall quarter Share Night. Students had the opportunity to share the learning outcomes for each of their courses. Their work was highlighted through displays, stage presentations, and personal engagement. Thank you to all who participated in this fun evening!

Check out the photos from Share Night on our Facebook page.

American Radio Theater Visits OLS

For the third year in a row the American Radio Theater (ART) came to Bellevue College North Campus and performed for the OLS Radio Theatre class on November 12, 2014. ART is a non-profit group dedicated to the preservation and promotion of old time radio.

The OLS students were given a behind the scenes look at how a radio play is produced. ART, led by Joy Jackson, setup their microphones, recording equipment, and props needed to create live sound effects. The group talked about what they do and how happy they are for opportunities to expose others to old time radio. They then performed and recorded “Will You Walk Into My Parlor”, a mystery written by John Dickson Carr.

The recording will be edited and added to ART’s podcast page at www.americanradiotheater.org.

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NorthWest Arkansas Community College to be the first college to replicate OLS!

NorthWest Arkansas Community College will be the first college to replicate OLS.  Their biggest hurdle yet, differential tuition, was approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees on November 10. Dr. Gates stated, “The Board expressed great interest in the program and any reservations about the cost were outweighed by the compelling need in the community.  At the same time, we remain aware of the very real challenges the tuition rate may present to some families.  To that end, we will be working to make sure all interested students and parents know that admitted students who meet federal financial aid criteria (need) will be eligible for federal financial aid because they are “degree seeking” students. We will continue exploring other options to make sure cost is not a prohibitive factor for students in the program.”
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Coffee Social w/Communications Class

Coffee Social with Intro to Communications Class

Our first year students' Intro to Communication class hosted a coffee social on October 8th, 2014 at Bellevue College North Campus. This event was a great opportunity for North Campus staff and first year students of OLS to get to know one another.  The students were excited to have the opportunity to practice skills they are learning in the classroom (greeting visitors, making them feel welcomed, and engaging in conversations) while having a good time socializing with other students and staff. A good time was had by all!

OLS Alumni Represent at Eastside Pathways College & Career Panel

OLS alumni (Jode - Genie, Katie - Federal Way School District, Evan - Compass Group, & Michael - Skills Inc) represented OLS Bellevue College at the Eastside Pathways College & Career Open House at the Bellevue Square Microsoft Store on Sept 29 & 30, 2014. They sat on the College & Career panel and spoke about their past experiences and how they achieved their goals.

You can watch them tell their stories on the OLS YouTube channel.

Ricky & Cheryl take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Ricky & Cheryl accepted Marci's challenge and took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the end of the OLS All Student Orientation. The staff chose two students from each year to dump water buckets onto Ricky & Cheryl, causing much excitement amongst the students. Ricky & Cheryl in turn challenged all the 4th Year students!


Watch all the excitement on OLS' YouTube channel!

OLS All Student Orientation

On Sept 15th, OLS introduced the 26 new students and their parents and welcomed back all returning students and their parents at the All Student Orientation. Students got a chance to mingle and did group presentations on one of their Performance Indicators. First year parents got to meet and receive great advice from current students' parents. Fun was had by all and to end the event, 8 students received the privilege of dumping water onto Ricky and Cheryl during their ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!


Visit OLS' Facebook page (www.facebook.com/OLSbellevuecollege) to view all the photos from our All Student Orientation.

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OLS Summer Volunteering at Ronald McDonald House

All OLS students are encouraged to volunteer during the summer.  Committing to a summer volunteer experience teaches students valuable real-life work skills as well as promotes community involvement.


Some OLS students volunteered at Ronald McDonald House on August 29th, 2014. They helped clean up the building while still having fun. Way to go, guys!

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Marci takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

OLS Director Marci Muhlestein takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at Bellevue College Continuing Education's All Hands Meeting. She also challenged Ricky and Cheryl to take the ice bucket challenge at the OLS All Student Orientation on September 15th!


Watch the full video on OLS YouTube.

OLS Student Leadership Training

OLS Student Leadership Training

The OLS student leadership team and student mentors had an all-day training on August 19th on the Bellevue College main campus. With the aid of their facilitators (Skip Sampelayo, Nora Lance, and Jerry Bunce) from the Student Programs department at Bellevue College, the students explored their leadership styles, including how to use this information when working as a team. The OLS student mentors lead the first day of the new student orientation and now have been supporting the first year students during the beginning of the fall quarter.
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OLS on the Radio (Education Talk Radio)

OLS National Director, Marci Muhlestein, was recently interviewed by internet radio talk show host Larry Jacobs from Education Talk Radio. The interview included information about OLS on the Bellevue College campus and the replication of OLS on other college campuses. Stories of past students were told, plans for replicating on NWACC campus were discussed, and opportunities for other colleges to get involved were shared.


Way to represent OLS, Marci!


Listen to the full interview here: Marci's Education Talk Radio blog

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OLS Presenting at AHEAD Conference July 2014

On July 16, 2014 Marci Muhlestein, OLS National Director, will be presenting at the National AHEAD Conference in Sacramento, CA. The conference will highlight best practices for disability resource administrators at colleges all around the United States. She will be sharing the success of OLS alumni, the specifics about the associate degree, and the process on how to collaborate to result in replication of OLS on other college campuses. This event is important because it will provide OLS with the opportunity to share information about the OLS program with professionals that are at the forefront of providing services to adults with disabilities on college campuses. It will provide them the opportunity to become involved at the ground level of replication. 


"I am excited to share OLS and our replication model with AHEAD conference attendees. I am hoping for multiple colleges to be inspired to begin their process of replication so that more adults with cognitive disabilities can benefit from an OLS college education." - Marci Muhlestein

MORE info on AHEAD

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Congrats to graduating OLS class of 2014!

Congratulations to the graduating OLS class of 2014!!! The staff and faculty at OLS at Bellevue College is proud of these outstanding students and wish them success in their future endeavors.

Sarah Paulson Customer Service Award Winner: Karen Riley!

The OLS Customer Service and Office Procedures class presented the Sarah Paulson Exceptional Customer Service Award to Karen Riley, manager of Poppinjay’s Café on March 25, 2014. Throughout the quarter, the students in the Customer Service and Office Procedures class observed Bellevue College North Campus staff for Exceptional Customer Service Skills in the following areas: Creating a First Impression, Having the Right Attitude, Establishing a Rapport, and Making a Customer Feel Valued.

This award is named after a former OLS student, Sarah Paulson, who epitomized exceptional customer service by having a positive attitude and making everyone around her feel valued and respected.

Congratulations to Karen!

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Office Procedures Class Visits The Marriott Hotel

Office Procedures and Customer Service Class toured the Marriott Hotel -Redmond Town Center on March 19, 2014. The Marriott staff did an outstanding job of explaining and demonstrating how to deliver Exceptional Customer Service. The students were able to observe and ask questions to the employees working in the various departments in the hotel such as Front Desk, Operator, Housekeeping, Laundry, Engineering, Kitchen, and Restaurants. In addition, the Management Staff met with the students to give them an overview of the Hospitality Industry and answer specific employment questions regarding benefits and employment opportunities through the Marriott.  Two current OLS students are completing a 200 hour internship at the Marriott in the engineering/maintenance department and in the restaurant.

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OLS Visits Sizzleworks!

The OLS students in the Nutrition II visited Sizzleworks, a local cooking school in Bellevue.  There, they learned valuable skills with regard to preparing and cooking nutritious food and kitchen safety.  After preparation, they were able to sample their work! 

OLS Visits Microsoft!

On the 26th of February, the Computer Fundamentals class visited the Microsoft Visitors Center and learned how technology can be used to enhance the education process.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In the spirit of serving others and giving back to our local community, the OLS students were busy doing a service project in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They were reminded of Dr. King's vision and mission and of the importance of giving back to their communities. They made about 20 fleece blankets to be donated to Seattle Children's Hospital. A group of OLS students delivered the semi-handmade blankets to Children's Hospital and the patients and volunteer staff were thrilled!


The OLS program emphasizes the importance of serving others in our community. There are many opportunities throughout our program for students to do service projects such as the blanket making project.



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