Beacon College recently received a $50,000 grant from the David R. Clare and Margaret C. Clare Foundation to defray programs to bolster college educators who teach students who learn differently and to boost career-readiness for students with learning differences (LD) through a residential experience, the college announced Tuesday.
The grant allows the college to launch its innovative “First Career” and post-graduate “Beacon Certificate” programs.
“We consider our funding an investment in your leadership, [Beacon’s] mission and this program in particularly,” said David R. Clare, Jr., managing director and trustee of the Morristown, NJ charity whose funding areas include higher education and human services.
The Beacon Certificate perfectly encapsulates that trust. The four-course graduate program allows Beacon to share with college educators and service providers the expertise gained as the first college or university accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students with learning differences. After completing the 16-credit program, participants will be equipped to engage and teach to the strengths of students with learning disabilities. The goal: shoring up the dismal numbers (estimated at less than 30 percent) of LD collegians who graduate.
Program courses — available in both traditional and online formats — include The Education and Service of Undergraduates Who Learn Differently, The Education and Service of Undergraduates with Learning Disabilities, The Education and Service of Undergraduates with ADHD and Processing Issues, and The Education and Service of Undergraduates on the Autistic Spectrum.
“Our partnership with the David R. and Margaret C. Clare Foundation is vital to the college’s efforts to reach new audiences beyond those in our traditional classrooms,” said Dr. George J. Hagerty, president of Beacon College. “The Clare Foundation has assumed a leadership role in advancing Beacon’s vision of a superior undergraduate institution that will understand an obligation to benefit the society beyond the boundaries of our campus.”
Likewise, the grant also defrays Beacon’s boldest innovation: The “First Career” program.
Some 20 percent of graduates from Beacon or LD students from other institutions likely could boost their chances of thriving personally and professionally with a postgraduate mentored living, learning, and employment program. Participants will get that with “First Career,” a two-year communal experience, where members live together, engage in service and learning opportunities and attend weekly group sessions with other residents. They also work full-time entry-level jobs provided by JP Morgan, JetBlue, Sea World, Disney and other Beacon national corporate partners.
Two years of mentored seasoning will equip First Career graduates with the life and job skills and confidence to help whittle obscenely high jobless rates for capable would-be workers with learning differences and ADHD.
Both programs operate out of The Beacon Center, which houses the college’s ancillary programming.
“Through the David R. and Margaret C. Clare Foundation’s support, Beacon College will reach a broader constituency of university-based professionals through our Beacon Certificate, as well as the college’s graduates who learn differently through the inauguration of an inventive ‘First Year’ career program,” Hagerty said.