Derek James attends classes, works two jobs and is active in a campus ministry at Kennesaw State University.
The busy 22-year-old is a third-year student in the university’s Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth. Until this year, it was the only post-secondary program in Georgia for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
James, who lives on campus, has already completed a two-year certificate and is working on the more advanced version, referred to as the academy’s “grad school.”
He’s focusing on sports management so that he can coach.
“If I didn’t come here, I wouldn’t be anywhere,” he said.
The Kennesaw State program offers something that hasn’t always existed for many people with disabilities — a chance to attend college and start a career.