OSU’s Opportunity Orange Scholars offers postsecondary program for individuals with disabilities

Oklahoma State University is raising start-up funds to help launch Opportunity Orange Scholars, a new postsecondary education program for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Opportunity Orange Scholars is designed to include young adults 18 to 26 who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and do not meet OSU’s admission criteria for degree-seeking students.

Students admitted to Opportunity Orange Scholars can pursue a two-year, non-degree certificate program with an additional, non-degree advanced certification program option. OSU plans to welcome the first cohort of students to the Stillwater campus in August 2022.

OSU is collaborating with LeadLearnLive, an Oklahoma organization that raises awareness and support for postsecondary opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The nonprofit has committed more than $300,000 toward Opportunity Orange Scholars over the next three years. On June 3, Julie Lackey, founder and executive director, along with the LeadLearnLive board, presented a check for the initial installment to the program leaders in Stillwater.

Opportunity Orange Scholars builds on the work of Dr. Jennifer Jones and Dr. Kami Gallus, faculty in the Department of Human Development and Family Science and co-directors of the Institute for Developmental Disabilities. Opportunity Orange Scholars is a natural extension of research and community programming at the institute where the mission is to learn from and work alongside individuals and their families.