Texas Workforce Commission — Project HIRE

Project HIRE

Project HIRE students with business mentors
Project HIRE students spent a day with business mentors from the City of McAllen Public Works Department.

  • Impact
    • 52 students completed a six-week intensive summer bridge training
      • Students had a combined cumulative 2.8 GPA with almost 3,000 academic credits completed
    • 24 students graduated from South Texas College (STC)
      • 10 students gained employment in their field of study after STC graduation
      • 7 students gained employment in another field (with or without graduation
    • 51 students participated in Project HIRE Business Mentoring
    • 15 students participated in the Workforce Solutions Work Experience program

Statewide Need
The postsecondary results of an appropriate public-school education for students with disabilities should be evidenced by employment, postsecondary education, or both within one year of high school. The 2008 Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act included provisions for equal college opportunities for students with disabilities. Community college programs that specifically address the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) exist, but these are not necessarily accessible to those with cognitive or severe disabilities. Additionally, they may provide only a certificate showing completion of hours or years but not achievement of skill level or expertise. Existing programs frequently are not fully inclusive, and many consist of separate classes rather than supporting individuals with severe disabilities to attend “regular” classes.

Project Goal
Support individuals with severe developmental disabilities (DD) to complete post-secondary education or job training and obtain employment through wrap-around services at STC.

Project Summary
Project HIRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) assisted 52 students with DD (ages 18-25) from Hidalgo County with services to help them pursue a certificate-level degree at STC, leading to competitive employment by providing innovative one-on-one wrap-around support services unique to the area. Project HIRE was developed as a unique supported educational model based upon supported employment models.

Students completed a six-week intensive summer bridge training at STC, helping them to transition into the world of college by providing college and vocational readiness prior to the beginning of college classes. The summer training topics included financial management, independent living, life skills, social skills, success strategies, travel training, Social Security benefits planning, disability-related issues, self-determination, self-advocacy, and knowledge of individual rights. Each summer, Project HIRE participants took part in additional activities, including person centered planning, social skills trainings, an individual assistive technology evaluation, and business mentoring days in the local business community correlating to the participants selected field of study.

Assistive Technology was purchased during the first year and business partners were recruited throughout the project. Multiple project partners collaborated to help participants succeed in their secondary education and employment goals.

Project Period
Jan 2012 – Apr 2017

101 E. 15th St.
Austin, TX 78751

Geographic Reach
Hidalgo County

Blue shape of Texas with county served colored orange