ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium (GAIPSEC), a project of the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University, was honored at the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) Soiree of Stars Gala on October 21, with the Access to Education award.
The GAIPSEC is being awarded the Access to Education award for their dedication to ensuring that every Georgia student has access to learning after high school, regardless of intellectual or developmental disability. This virtual event honored and celebrated individuals, organizations, and corporations making a difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. The NDSC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to an improved world for individuals with Down syndrome. This virtual event honored and celebrated individuals, organizations, and corporations making a difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. This year’s honorees include three self-advocate Everyday Heroes as well including UGA Destination Dawgs alumni Marina Martinez. A beautiful introduction of GAIPSEC was given by current Georgia Tech Excel student, Martha Haythorn.
“It was an honor to accept this award on behalf of the entire Consortium. I am very proud of the work we all have done to support students with intellectual disabilities to have a bright future! We’ve worked hard over the last 10 years, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate this work on a national stage!” remarked Susanna Miller-Raines, the Coordinator of the GAIPSEC.
In 2011 the GAIPSEC was formed with the vision to increase higher education opportunities for students with IDD in Georgia. With the leadership of Dr. Daniel Crimmins and state partners, inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) opportunities in Georgia Grew from one program in 2009 to 4 programs by 2015 and then to 9 programs by 2020. Currently there are 8 programs in Georgia serving around 120 students this year and one program in development opening in Fall 2022. To date there have been 226 graduates from Georgia IPSE Programs with the average employment rate of 60% of graduates of each of the programs. Georgia IPSE receives $500,000 a year from the state budget to support program development and scholarship for our students. The GAIPSEC is a national leader among state alliances and consortiums and was a founding member of the Southeast Postsecondary Education Alliance.
When asked about the impact of the GAIPSEC on IPSE programs in Georgia, Dr. Carol Britton Laws, Founding Director of Destination Dawgs at UGA said, “GAIPSEC has been essential in our capacity building efforts in Georgia. Through this collaborative we have worked to break out of silos, to problem solve, and to find creative solutions to address challenges together and provide high quality IPSE programs to student in Georgia.”
Housed in the CLD at Georgia State University, GAIPSEC is a group dedicated to ensuring that every Georgia student has access to learning after high school, regardless of intellectual or developmental disability. The GAIPSEC is led by the CLD and is made up of state partners at the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Georgia Advocacy Office, the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, the Institute on Human Development and Disability at University of Georgia (UGA), Tools for Life at Georgia Tech, the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership, the Georgia House and Senate Budget Offices, and the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. There would not be IPSE in Georgia without programs at the partnering universities of Kennesaw State University, GSU, East Georgia State College, Columbus State University, Georgia Tech, UGA, Georgia Southern University, and Albany Technical College.
Link to Soiree of Stars Award Ceremony: https://youtu.be/ERW8b32TbG0