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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students with disabilities get skills, work in NW program

Heather Soto works as an assistant in the TR Campus health services office as part of the Stepping Stones program that helps students with disabilities become more independent.
David Reid/The Collegian
Heather Soto works as an assistant in the TR Campus health services office as part of the Stepping Stones program that helps students with disabilities become more independent. David Reid/The Collegian

By Taylor Jensen/reporter

Students with disabilities are being given a chance to become more independent, a NW counselor with continuing education said.

Yulia Kantor helps run the Transitional Skills program Stepping Stones, which has open enrollment for all students with disabilities who want to learn social skills, independent living and academics.

Now, the students are being offered different positions throughout the campus to utilize skills learned in class.

Heather Soto works as an assistant in the TR Campus health services office as part of the Stepping Stones program that helps students with disabilities become more independent.
David Reid/The Collegian

“Last semester, we made a co-op program where students work twice a week in different departments without pay,” Kantor said. “When finished, students will receive an evaluation with suggestions on how to improve.”

Students can work in the library, bookstore and health services.

Thoy Fongsamouth, TR health services coordinator, believes she has benefited from the program as a supervisor every time Stepping Stones student Heather Soto comes to work.

“She is gaining experience in a safe, supervised environment, and I get someone to help me get things done,” she said.

TCC offers real-world working situations in all of the different departments, Fongsamouth said.

“These students are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for,” she said. “We are told what their interests are so we can really help them grow.”

Heather Soto said she enjoys the program and has already learned a lot by helping out with office tasks.

“I like coming here and learning life skills and how to work in the office,” she said.

Even with the new opportunities available, the program is still looking to grow.

“Right now, we have a class of five, but I would like more students so we can begin morning and afternoon classes,” Kantor said.

“This population has been misrepresented. My brother has a disability. And I want people to know that these classes are available. Every student is different, but we are all learning together, and they are accomplishing so much.”

Classes meet 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday in WMBA 1030A on NW Campus.

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