Two Students Celebrated at Northern Kentucky University Celebration

Two Students Celebrated at Northern Kentucky University Celebration

Two students complete the Supported Higher Education Program at Northern Kentucky University. Congratulations to Tara McGrath and Michael Bushman!

Tara has taken classes across multiple disciplines, including Education, Theatre, English, Business, and more.

In this picture is Tara (far right) and her peer mentor Kayla Rich during commencement.

She has completed on-campus internships at Empower Learn Create, Steely Library, Northerner, NKU Theatre Box Office and most recently the College of Education Office. Emily Hellman of NKU’s SHEP often hears feedback from Tara’s instructors, internship supervisors, and peer mentors about how delightful, hard-working, and dedicated she is. She has represented NKU and the SHEP Program by leading campus tours and meeting with prospective students and their families. It is not uncommon for Tara to go above and beyond in her work while exceeding expectations.

Two students smile into the camera wearing their graduation cap and gown.
A group of people including two college graduates stand facing the camera.

Michael has taken classes in Art, English, Communications, Dance and Theatre. He’s held a paid internship at the Steely Library for the last three years and has assumed a number of roles and responsibilities through this position.

Michael has achieved success not only as a valuable intern, but has continued to challenge and apply himself in the classroom setting as well. Michael was one of the first students in the SHEP Program to live on campus in the residence halls and Emily is grateful for the role that he played in making on-campus housing an inclusive and accessible opportunity for all students.

Cole Amann (pictured far right in the group photo) completed the SHEP Program in Spring of 2020. Due to COVID restrictions, all University events were canceled and he was never able to attend the commencement ceremony. His Mom reached out to me a few months ago asking if Cole could participate in the commencement ceremony with our other two graduates this spring! We enjoyed seeing Cole again and was glad that we he was able to join the celebration.

Owensboro CTP Graduates First Students

Owensboro CTP Graduates First Students

Gavin Basham and Amie Morris are trailblazers in the CLS Program.

Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC) graduated its first two students this spring from the Career and Life Skills certificate program: Gavin Basham and Amie Morris.

The Career and Life Skills certificate is designed to improve employment options through college-level coursework that includes life-long learning skills, digital literacy, and career exploration, as well as essential workplace skills through experiential learning opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.

The program is a 2-year program that started at OCTC in the fall of 2022 with Gavin and Amie being the first participants in the program. There are now a total of 6 students in the CLS program.

Gavin Basham was interested in working in kitchens and restaurants. He gained much experience in food preparation and culinary arts. Through his CLS internships he was offered a job at one of his placements.

Amie Morris found real joy and vision in the art classes that she took over the semesters. The artwork she produced astonished everyone around her. Although she has completed the CLS certificate, she may continue enrolling in other art classes here at OCTC.

We are so proud of our CLS graduates!

University of Kentucky Celebrates Students

University of Kentucky College and Career Studies Program Celebrates Students

The Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky recognized the following Kentucky Supported Higher Education Partnership (KSHEP) students for their achievements in a ceremony on May 2, 2024:

Completion of College and Career Studies program at the University of Kentucky

  • Sara Jones (primary focus on Universal Design, Animal Care and Support, and Storytelling in Literature).
  • Justin Harmon (primary focus on Universal Design, Theatre Arts, and Advocacy and Inclusion).
    Completion of Undergraduate Certificate in Universal Design
  • Callie Baesler
  • Kate Boudreaux
  • Will Lyon
  • Sara Jones
  • Justin Harmon

Spotlight on new CCS alums:

Justin Harmon

The College and Career Studies (CCS) program at the University of Kentucky helped me achieve my dream of going to college.  

I am thankful for the opportunity it gave me to attend many interesting classes, learn new things, make new friends, and experience campus life.  I will forever be grateful for my time as a CCS student at UK, and will always be proud to call myself an official Wildcat! 

Justin Harmon, CCS alum
Justin in front of UK Wildcat statue

Justin in front of UK Wildcat statue

Sara Jones (left), Ann Switzer (right), and Erin Fitzgerald (background)

Sara Jones (left), Ann Switzer (right), and Erin Fitzgerald (background)

Sara sitting with the UK Wildcat statue

Sara sitting with UK Wildcat statue

Sara Jones

Things I learned in college:  

  • I learned ways to communicate effectively with others.​
  • I can use what I have learned about Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning in many environments.  ​
  • I learned that I am most interested in caring for and supporting animals when thinking about a future career.  ​
  • I learned to be an advocate for myself and others for resources to be inclusive and accessible to everyone.  ​
  • I learned that I can overcome challenges that come with being a neurodivergent person.  ​
  • I learned that I can be successful. 
Sara Jones, CCS Alum

Thanks to everyone who made the 2023/2024 academic year a success! Congrats to all the students who completed a milestone this year, and also to students who completed their first year. We can’t wait to see what you all do next!

Program Spotlight: University of Kentucky College and Career Studies Program

Program Spotlight: University of Kentucky College and Career Studies Program

Fall 2023 Semester Highlights

Career Exploration and Community Engagement

5 students are also working toward an undergraduate certificate in Universal Design.

During the semester, practicum students explored their career interests by engaging in campus and community activities.

Highview Arts Center | Theater Focus

Justin helped the team at Highview Arts Center prepare for a sensory-friendly performance of their production of A Christmas Carol. He researched and shared information with them and also helped set up an area where attendees could go take a break during the show when needed. It was a HUGE success. Read more about Highview

Lexington Writer’s Room | Literary Focus

Will spent time learning about local and regional writing communities, and ways to connect with them. He focused on the design of both the physical spaces and also events and processes related to the literary community. He developed his own writing process and also connected with other writers to think about how he might engage more in the future. Read more about Lexington Writer’s Room

Early Childhood Lab | Dance & Movement Focus

Kate worked alongside another UK student, Kendall (a senior and dance major) to bring dance and movement activities to UK’s Early Childhood Lab. They presented dance activities weekly to the kids and took data on which activities were best received, and notes about how to ensure that the activities and spaces were well designed for all involved. Read more about the Early Childhood Lab

Community Spotlight Podcast | Highlighting campus and community events

Callie and Sara worked together to create a new podcast called Community Spotlight, which highlights things of interest on campus and in the community. The podcast was a great way to learn about different things happening in the community, and to make some connections with people and places of interest. Community Spotlight will also continue into future semesters with other students.

You can check out the podcast here:

Western Kentucky CTP Approved

Western Kentucky CTP Approved

Western Kentucky University’s application to the US Dept of Ed to establish a CTP has been approved. WKU’s program is the 6th Comprehensive Transition Program that has been approved in the Commonwealth.

Read More

Resource: The Center for Transition to Adult Health Care for Youth with Disabilities

Resource: The Center for Transition to Adult Health Care for Youth with Disabilities

The Center for Transition to Adult Health Care for Youth with Disabilities website is an online resource center that can be used by youth and young adults with disabilities between the ages of 12-26 and their families and caregivers to learn about how to move (transition) from pediatric health care to adult health care. Pediatric health care is medical care for children ages birth to age 18.  Once children reach age 18, they are most often referred to an adult healthcare provider. This website provides resources that empower youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become self-advocates in the transition process without gaps in health care service. The website provides videos for youth with disabilities to view that help them to understand their healthcare transition. Youth can listen to the real-life story of Hunter, who is a young adult with a disability, and his healthcare transition journey. In the video, Hunter describes the helpful tools he used to navigate a change in his own health care. Two additional videos show a young man with epilepsy named Kobe, who makes a healthcare transition, and Katie, who lives with cerebral palsy and other health issues who transitions from a pediatrician to an adult neurologist (a medical doctor who specializes in treating disorders of the brain and nervous system).  Youth can interact with toolkits, quizzes, and workbooks on these topics.

The website also provides a comprehensive listing of resources for parents and caregivers, clinicians, and direct service providers. Those resources include topics such as changes in insurance and legal rights, interactive videos, toolkits, quick guides, and infographics.

Center for Transition to Adult Health Care for Youth with Disabilities

This center is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award.

University of Kentucky College and Career Studies students launch new podcast: Community Spotlight

University of Kentucky College and Career Studies students launch new podcast: Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight is a podcast highlighting different things on campus and in the community. It was started by Callie and Sara, two students in the College and Career Studies program at the University of Kentucky. Students explore campus or community events, resources, or activities each week and then work together to create a podcast episode featuring a chosen Community Spotlight.

Listen to the Community Spotlight Podcast.

Callie and Sara sit together, surrounded by a computer monitor with a paper-like sunburst behind them.

Inclusive Higher Education Timeline

Inclusive Higher Education Timeline

Kentucky has a rich history in its commitment to inclusive spaces in post-secondary education. Over the last twenty years, multiple projects and initiatives have supported students with developmental disabilities as they engage in post-secondary education. The timeline below highlights some of the work that has gone into supporting students with their educational goals.


Postsecondary Opportunities Workgroup
(POW) is launched by families, young adults with intellectual disabilities, and Kentucky organizations.


Postsecondary Inclusion Partnership
PIP begins a three-year grant funded by the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities.


The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute is awarded a five-year $2.1 million federal grant Supported Higher Education Project, SHEP.


A pilot between SHEP and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation provides support services on college campuses around Kentucky.


SHEP staff and students with intellectual disabilities present to the Kentucky Legislative Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education.

A group from Murray State University, led by a parent advocate, expresses interest in starting a program on campus.

Representative Carl Rollins attends the POW meeting and hears concerns that SHEP students cannot utilize Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship Program money.


Kentucky’s first U.S. Department of Education approved Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary (CTP) program was established at Murray State University.

Kentucky Legislature unanimously passes a bill to allow students with alternate diplomas to access their KEES money.


Bluegrass Community & Technical College Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) program approved.

SHEP, POW, and stakeholders explore expansion and sustainability options.

Spalding University Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) program approved.


Northern Kentucky University Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) program approved.


Partnerships in Employment State Systems Change grant.

Legislative action to increase KEES funding available to students with intellectual disabilities enrolled in Kentucky CTP programs.


Inclusive Higher Education Webinar series.


Kentucky State Budget addresses Supported Higher Education.


Kentucky Supported Higher Education Partnership.


University of Kentucky Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) program approved.

Legislative action expands the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship to include students with ID enrolled in Kentucky CTP programs.


Owensboro Community and Technical College Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) program approved.


Western Kentucky University Comprehensive Transition program approved.