In the News

Inclusivity in the workplace: These ACE-IT in College graduates are now valued VCU staff members
October 19, 2021 BY BRIAN MCNEILL VCU News

As a finance assistant in Virginia Commonwealth University's Division of Student Affairs, A'Shauntae Nious provides clerical and administrative assistance three days a week in the Finance Service Office that provides business services to a number of departments that support VCU students.

"Overall, my experience with ACE-IT has definitely helped me tremendously with getting ready for the world of work. I wouldn’t trade it for the world."

Teddy Robbins, an ACE-IT graduate who works at VCU

"I love my job," Nious said, saying it gives her the freedom to learn and enhance her skills, be a valued team member, and help support VCU students and the university.

Nious graduated in 2019 from ACE-IT in College, an inclusive learning and training program at VCU for transition-age adults with intellectual disabilities. With individualized support, ACE-IT students participate in employment opportunities, college classes and campus activities. Part of the VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center in the School of Education, ACE-IT's goal is to prepare the students to pursue fulfilling careers in their fields of interest.

Nious is one of three ACE-IT graduates currently working at VCU.

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Students with disabilities ACE-IT at VCU - VCU places students with disabilities in standard classes
February 4, 2014 BY KARIN KAPSIDELIS Richmond Times-Dispatch

Kathryn Anderson sums up her disability this way:

"I can learn what a normal person can learn. It just takes me a little bit longer to learn it."

"I can learn what a normal person can learn. It just takes me a little bit longer to learn it."

Kathryn Anderson, ACE-IT graduate

In December, Anderson reached a milestone not just for her own education but also for the way in which Virginia Commonwealth University provides academic access to students with intellectual disabilities.

Anderson, 24, and Eddie Lee Lewis, 21, became the first two students to complete a 30-month, five-semester certificate program through VCU’s School of Education called ACE-IT in College.

VCU is one of 27 universities, and the only one in Virginia, awarded a U.S. Department of Education grant in 2010 to explore postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.

Through the five-year, $2 million demonstration grant, students who in the past might have been steered to segregated programs instead attend classes with other VCU students.

Some of Anderson's classmates knew she had a disability, she said. "Some of them didn't know. It really didn’t make a big difference for those who did know. They treated me the same."

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