Michelle Rosado/Tejano Tribune
Laura Molina teaches Jasper Alvaro how to use the drill in Machining Class.
El Paso Community College (EPCC) has implemented an innovative program to help students with disabilities have an opportunity at a better future.
Project Higher (PH) is a program started by EPCC under the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) that will help students with disabilities succeed in college and acquire a position in the workforce.
Project Higher is for students ages 18-25.
“There are two goals in Project Higher.
"The first goal is for students to complete a level-one certificate.
"The second goal is to find employment in their area of study before they graduate,” said M.Ed. Program Manager for the Center for Students with Disabilities, Rick Razo.
To help students achieve these goals, they are assigned an educational coach.
The areas educational coaches support the most with are the following: pre-planning, academic coaching and to help address self-advocacy and self-determination skills.
Educational coaches help create a supportive learning environment for students and explore the learning styles for each student.
“This program was the best decision I [have] ever made. I get to do what I love,” said Jasper Alvarado, Project Higher student who is studying Machining Technology at the Advanced Technology Center (ATC).
According to Laura Molina, ATC Machining Technology Coordinator, Alvarado displays an air of confidence especially when talking about his upcoming project, creating chess pieces.
Molina never treated Alvarado different from other students.
The supportive environment she created helped Alvarado come out of his shell.
“Now Jasper is on the same level as his class mates.
"This program has helped him gain new skills and a new confidence,” she added,
“He is more social and works well with others in group work. Project Higher has been extremely beneficial for him.”
Project Higher will continue to enroll six to eight students into the program each year.
“We are hoping that through this the program will continue to provide the support students need to be successful at EPCC,” said Razo.
It has helped students reach higher goals as opposed to not having the opportunity to go to college after high school.
The programs students are currently enrolled in are as follows: Machining Technology, Business Management (Office Assistant Program), Information Technology Data Entry and Travel and Tourism.
For any questions concerning Project Higher contact Rick Razo at:
(915)-831-2739 or at email@example.com.