July 21, 2020
West Virginia University will offer the Country Roads program this fall, which is a new on-campus, non-degree certificate program designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program will last two years for each of the eight students who will be enrolled this fall. This is according to Lesley Cottrell, the Director of the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities, who said they are still taking applications for the fall through their website. Cottrell said students enrolled in the program will learn valuable skills, but also have a proper college experience.
“During that time we have courses for them that really are focused on occupational skills as well as daily living skills, so in the dorms, in kitchens, things of that sort. Throughout the campus we will be doing different things to work on various things from handling money to riding on the PRT, engaging with others, that’s the social piece of it.” LESLEY COTTRELL – DIRECTOR, WVU CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN DISABILITIES
Cottrell said during their two year period on campus, students will be making connections with faculty, staff as other students. In addition, they will be finding academic areas of interest, just in case they decide to stay. If they do stay after the Country Roads program, she said, they can pursue any degree of choice at WVU, in their field of choice. She also said those connections they make will help them if they pursue their academic degrees.
Cottrell said she is “very happy” to finally have a program like this at WVU. “There’s a big group of us that have been working on this for a while and many families throughout the state who have really pushing this for years,” Cottrell said. “And so their efforts really — and our recent efforts are coming to a head with the opening up of this program, so we’re very excited.”
The program will be open to students from out of state, but as the West Virginia land grant university, WVU is focused on providing opportunities for West Virginians, Cottrell said. She said all the program requirements can be found on its website.
WVU issued a press release
about the Country Road program, addressing COVID-19 and detailing what it will look like in the fall.