Starting this fall, USFSM freshman students will be given copies of "A Long Way Home."

Bulls Notebook: Grant to benefit college students with disabilities

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: July 21, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (July 21, 2017) – A $250,000 grant to The Haven, a nonprofit group that provides programs and services to children and adults with disabilities, will soon benefit USF Sarasota-Manatee students.

The grant, which came from the Able Trust, was set aside for The Haven’s “Careers Without Limits” program to provide career training, counseling and placement services to adults with disabilities. As a result of the increased funding, USF Sarasota-Manatee will now be able to refer students to the program to help them advance in their careers at no additional cost.

“Thanks to the grant and the partnership with The Haven, we can assist individuals find meaningful employment in the community in the fields of study they have pursued,” said Allison Dinsmore, assistant director of Student Success at USFSM. “This partnership will also expose and support area businesses to the abilities and qualifications of this talented, yet traditionally underserved demographic of the population.”

Careers Without Limits is a comprehensive employment service for people with disabilities who are in the final stages, or have recently completed, a technical or traditional college degree program.

The Haven’s counselors assist with resume and interview preparation and identify job prospects commensurate with the participants’ skills and career objectives. They also provide a year of post-employment support to ensure program participants are acclimated to their new careers.

“Careers Without Limits provides students with unique abilities the opportunity to become valued members of the workplace through job training and career placement appropriate for the individual’s education and career goals,” Brad Jones, The Haven’s chief executive officer, said.

Careers Without Limits is offered to students in Sarasota and Manatee counties enrolled at USF Sarasota-Manatee as well as the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. The Haven supports individuals with physical, sensory, developmental, learning, mental health and multiple disabilities.

Master of Social Work program warmly embraced

USFSM to launch master’s of social work degree program

Prof. Silvia Blanco

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Master of Social Work degree program is getting a warm reception.

The 2½-year program was eagerly embraced when it was announced last year that classes would be forming in the fall. Students pursing social work degrees were thrilled at being able to take classes locally at USFSM and not have to commute to USF in Tampa, an hour away.

“They are very excited about that,” said Prof. Silvia Blanco, who will teach some of the program’s courses. “Every day I get an email from someone asking to be in the program. Unfortunately, all of the slots are filled.”

Social work is a highly valued profession with licensed practitioners working in clinical settings, hospitals, agencies and other institutions. Most students in the program hold daytime jobs locally in the medical or educational fields, so having a local educational option was especially welcome.

The classes are scheduled Monday and Tuesday nights, with “field work” involving practical experience set for the second and subsequent semesters.

Students won’t see clients until the third semester, “when they are fully prepared to work with people,” said Blanco, herself a licensed clinician.

The program also includes an online class and a 10-hour per week internship.

Summer graduation exercises set for Aug. 5

USF Sarasota-Manatee is set to participate in the upcoming summer commencement in Tampa on Aug. 5.

The ceremony kicks off at 9 a.m. for candidates for graduation from the USF Tampa and USF St. Petersburg campuses. USF Sarasota-Manatee’s candidates are not scheduled to formally participate until 1:30 p.m.

The festivities will occur at the USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave, Tampa.

USFSM faculty and staff are urged to attend to cheer on the graduates.

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