UHD and H.E.A.R.T. Team Up To Educate and Employ Adults with I/DD.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) and the Housing, Entrepreneurship And Readiness Training (H.E.A.R.T.) Program have created an initiative to help adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities rejoin the workforce and continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey.
The H.E.A.R.T. Program was founded in 2006 to create new opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities to achieve their potential. H.E.A.R.T.’s mission is to promote structured independence for individuals with developmental disabilities by providing innovative education, training, housing and employment programs. H.E.A.R.T.’s philosophy is that everyone deserves the opportunity to excel and experience the sense of pride and accomplishment that is achieved through education and employment.
The innovative pilot project is being funded by two recently-awarded grants totaling $1.1 million from the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC).
UHD’s Center for Public Service and Community Research and H.E.A.R.T. have developed a Continuing Education Certificate Program to help those with I/DD advance their education and gain career-building skills. Program participants will attend on-campus classes, participate in on-campus internships, off-campus externships and a final capstone project prior to graduation. Students will be paired with UHD student mentors, who will provide guidance and support during a three-semester course of study.
The program will accommodate up to 80 students. 32 students began on Sept. 24. H.E.A.R.T. is currently accepting applications for 48 students to begin in the Spring of 2019.
“We are grateful for this funding from Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) and excited about partnering with UHD to offer new opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities in our community,” said Jane Borochoff, executive director of H.E.A.R.T. “This partnership will afford individuals the opportunity to not only earn a continuing education certificate from UHD, it will also provide a meaningful workforce experience.”
“This project exemplifies what our Center stands for,” Steven Villano, director of UHD’s Center for Public Service and Community Research, explains, “partnering with the community to initiate and develop collaborative relationships that bring about positive change and facilitates community-based research.”