The Raising Aspirations through an Inclusive Student Experience (RAISE) program is an inclusive and supportive post-secondary program for young adults who have intellectual disabilities and who desire to participate in a comprehensive college experience.
RAISE at RVC
RAISE is a three-year (six-semester) program that affords students the opportunity to earn “stackable” credentials. Students participate in a course of study that includes academic, vocational and life-skills-focused coursework and aligns with a College pathway program. The program has a strong emphasis on social inclusion which is accomplished by engagement of participants with same age peers and the general campus community through a combination of coursework, activities, and various vocational and social opportunities.
RAISE creates pathways for students to achieve life and career success through the development of educational, personal and vocational skills while fostering personal growth and social engagement within the campus community.
The specific objectives of RAISE are to provide students with:
- An enriched collegiate experience
- An interactive and inclusive environment
- Learning activities that transfer to lifelong independent living skills
- Work ethics necessary for gainful employment
- Self-respect and knowledge of individual strengths
- Empowerment through education
- Connections with post-21 employment and agencies
- Luke Markley
- Program Coordinator
- (815) 921-4125
RVC's RAISE program is one of only a handful of programs in the State of Illinois that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education as a Comprehensive Transition & Postsecondary (CTP) Program. Under this designation, students enrolled in the program are eligible to apply for Federal financial aid.
About the Program
Prospective students who wish to be considered for the RAISE program must complete a screening process to ensure that they are appropriate for the program and can meet all established program objectives. Final candidate selection will be at the discretion of the Program Coordinator. Please note that one’s admission into the program does not guarantee success. Program progression and individual student outcomes will be dictated by the student’s overall performance and ability to meet the established program goals.
Appropriate candidates for the RAISE program are those who:
- Are between the ages of 18-22 (exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Program Coordinator)
- Have a history of receiving special education services;
- Have a documented intellectual disability;
- Have reading, math, and written language skills at or above a third-grade level;
- Are able to follow the required college code of conduct;
- Are able to manage all self-care needs;
- Have sufficient emotional stability to participate in and adjust to all aspects of the program; and
- Are motivated and have realistic and tangible career and outcome goals
Course of Study
Students enrolled in the RAISE certificate program will complete a total of forty-five (45) credits which includes core, transitional & work-based, and pathway-specific coursework. Students must be motivated and have the desire to work, as the intent of this program is to prepare individuals for gainful employment. To complete the program requirements and obtain a RAISE Certificate of Achievement, students must satisfactorily complete a total of 45 credits of approved coursework and at least one, 75-hour internship.
The RAISE certificate program is organized into two distinct phases. Phase 1 is the core, which consists of six courses (15 credits) that strongly emphasize the building of skills that are essential for student success. These courses teach students how to self-advocate for themselves, how to work toward their goals, how to be self-sufficient, and how to build the “soft skills” that are crucial for employment success. Students who complete the program core (Phase 1) classes are not obligated nor automatically eligible to enroll in pathway development (Phase 2) classes, however all students must complete these courses prior to moving into any elective or pathway-specific coursework (phase 2). These “core” classes include the following:
- STU 015 – Personal Empowerment
- STU 106 – Community Integration
- FWS 018 – Safe & Healthy Living
- FIN 015 – Financial Literacy
- BUS 013 – Career Exploration
- BUS 014 – Career Skills Development
All core classes are offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings during the fall and spring semesters during the time periods of 9-10:15 and 10:30-11:45.
It is important that students learn some foundational skills that will allow them to successfully manage a college course load. Once students have met the “core” requirements and successfully demonstrated their ability to move into more challenging coursework, they will be ready to transition into career preparation and transitional coursework. This coursework will align directly with the student’s chosen vocational pathway. A total of 30 credits of coursework must be completed to meet the program requirements and may include a combination of transitional & work-based, elective, and pathway-specific courses.
All students will complete one 75-hour internship that will align with the student’s selected vocational pathway. Internships typically are unpaid and may be completed on or off campus. Selection of the internship site and identification of the specific performance objectives that must be met will be done in collaboration with the program Advisor and the internship site supervisor. Students must satisfactorily meet all identified performance objectives in order to complete this program requirement. Internship experiences may be repeated with prior approval of the Program Coordinator.
The RAISE certificate program is typically a three year (6 semester) program. Although it is recommended that students take between 6-9 credits per semester, program progression and time to completion will vary depending on each student’s individual goals, abilities and circumstances. Students should work closely with their Advisor to develop a course plan that fits within the parameters of the program while meeting the needs of each individual student.
The RAISE program was intentionally designed to offer stackable credentials. As the student progresses through the program, they will be awarded the following:
- Individual certificates of completion for each course successfully completed;
- A RAISE certificate of Achievement (granted upon successful completion of all of the program requirements); and
- An endorsement on the certificate indicating completion of the required coursework for the applicable pathway program.
The RAISE Certificate of Achievement recognizes the student’s accomplishment in completing all of the program requirements as well as gaining essential work preparation skills in their chosen vocational pathway. All courses completed will be included on the student’s RVC transcript. This certificate does not offer higher education credits towards a college degree.
How to Apply
First, Complete and Return the Application Packet. Application packets may be picked up from the Disability Support Services (DSS) front desk, located on the Ground Floor of the Student Center and should be returned to DSS once completed. Interested applicants must submit all of the following in order to be considered for program participation:
- RVC Enrollment Form
- Student Information Sheet
- Intake Questionnaire
- FERPA Form
- Enrollment Checklist
Then, participate in an informational interview. Once the application packet has been received and reviewed, the Program Coordinator will contact the student to schedule an informational interview. This will be an opportunity for the Coordinator to get to know the student better, discuss specific goals and program objectives, and determine whether the student is a good fit for the program.
Program Cost & Funding
The cost of attending the RAISE Program each semester depends on the type of courses in which the student enrolls.
- Tuition for RAISE core courses is $300 per class, which typically includes all instructional
- Core courses include: STU 015, STU 016, BUS 014, BUS 013, FWS 018, and FIN 015
- Tuition for non-core courses vary according to the type of course, but generally do
not include cost of instructional materials.
- Non-core courses include audit, credit, and transitional courses.
Students who are enrolled in, or accepted for enrollment in, a comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) program may be eligible for certain types of federal financial aid. Therefore, students who register for non-core coursework may complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for consideration of some types of federal financial aid. Learn more about Paying for College.
Although core coursework is not eligible for financial aid, all other coursework is eligible for scholarships through the Rock Valley College Foundation.
Students participating in the RAISE Certificate program will identify a particular vocational area in which he or she desires to work. This “Pathway” will serve as the basis for course selection and the identification of a work experience for the internship component of the program.
Students will work in consultation with the Program Coordinator to identify courses that align with his or her chosen pathway. The pathway should align with the student’s individual interests, abilities, and goals and will consist of approximately 15-16 credits of coursework.
The following are program-approved pathways:
- Transportation, Logistics & Supply
- Education & Training (Early Childhood Education)
- Food Handler
- Health Science (Certified Nursing Assistant)
- Business Management & Administration (Office Professional)
- Arts, Audio/Visual Technology & Communications (Cross Media Production)
- General Studies (Customizable to student’s interests and goals
- Pathway-specific coursework may be audited or taken for credit, but must be selected from the approved list in order to be counted toward the program requirements.
Refer to the RAISE Certificate Requirements document which outlines the specific coursework required for each of the approved pathways.