Embracing All

FIU Embrace exceeds the wonderful promise of its name. It offers a comprehensive and inclusive university-based education, with integrated employment and independent living, for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Words by Stacy Wynn | February 23, 2024 | Lifestyle

Graduating high school and entering college is a coming-of-age experience, one that includes obtaining independence and developing new life skills, but it’s not that straightforward for everyone. FIU Embrace is a 3-year program, providing students with intellectual and developmental disabilities an opportunity to engage in campus life with several supports. The program has established two types of integrated work-based learning opportunities — job shadowing and internships — that allow students to build and practice hard and soft skills at a partner business. “To make the process more seamless for both the student and employer, students are assigned a Job Coach who matches them with a partner business based on their experiences, goals, interests and skills as reflected in the vocational assessment, expressed by the student and through one-on-one meetings,” says Krystal Sutherland, Director of Education & Employment Services at FIU Embrace. The Job Coaches also provide support to the host sites/employers to ensure that the experience is positive for them as well. “We are constantly looking to partner with new organizations and business owners within the community,” says Sutherland. The program is currently accepting student applications through the end of March for the Fall term;