Rep. Jon Hardister Files Legislation to Support Postsecondary Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities
Raleigh, NC – Today Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford, Majority Whip) filed HB 351 – Catherine’s Law – which would appropriate $2 million to the UNC System to assist students with learning disabilities. Other primary sponsors include Reps. Donna White (R-Johnston), Dean Arp (R-Union) and Larry Potts (R-Davidson).
“This bill will enhance funding for programs that provide help for students requiring special assistance,” Hardister said. “Our goal is to help students with disabilities attain a postsecondary degree and prepare them to enter the workforce after graduation.”
Until recently these options for continued education were limited or non-existent for individuals with intellectual disabilities, or I/DD. However, with the development of postsecondary programs for individuals with I/DD, now over 265 in the nation, the opportunity for a better life for these individuals is growing.
“A lot of people don’t even give us a chance,” explains a student in one of these programs. Programs like his, he says, offer much more. Students in the programs work to improve their chances for employment, independent living, community involvement, and financial independence.
Funding will support courses for full-time students that are enrolled in a 4 semester or 8 semester certificate of accomplishment program designed to prepare students with I/DD for employment. These funds will support the “Beyond Academics” program at UNC-Greensboro.
North Carolina is now home to three U.S. Department of Education-approved comprehensive transition programs for individuals with I/DD. Aside from UNC-Greensboro, the other two locations for the program within North Carolina are Western Carolina University and Appalachian State University. This promising piece of legislation will help us sustain and grow these transformational programs, and make the American dream more accessible to more of North Carolina’s citizens.
“I am fully dedicated to the passage of Catherine’s Law,” Hardister said. “This will expand opportunity for students who have special needs and provide them with a greater chance of success.”
Rep. Hardister is a proponent of “Beyond Academics” and has visited the campus at UNC-Greensboro to fully understand the details of the program. The bill is named for Catherine Minton, who is a student in the “Beyond Academics” program at UNC-Greensboro. Hardister met her when he visited the program last year.
“My wife and I want to thank Rep. Hardister and the other sponsors of this legislation for fighting for young special needs adults like our daughter, Catherine. This legislation will give students like Catherine more opportunities at public universities in North Carolina.”
Here is a link to the bill: