The Western Connection Program
The Western Connection began in 2003 as collaboration between Western Connecticut State University and the Danbury area school districts to provide students with disabilities opportunities in a college setting. This regional program, for students ages 18-21, provides academic opportunities, work experiences, and life skills instruction to assist students in developing the vocational, study and social skills necessary for future post secondary study, competitive employment and community living. Generally a two year program, students audit one class per semester (for a total of four class experiences), and have one different work experience per semester (for a total of four different vocational experiences). Graduates of this program have opted for a variety of settings after graduating from the program. They include: 4 year colleges (3 students are currently attending WCSU), community colleges, or the work force.
Current on campus worksites include:
- Accessability Office
- Office of Admissions
- The Child Care Center
- Career Development Center
- Shipping and Receiving
- Food Service
- Mail Room
- Haas Library
A significant emphasis is on developing social skills appropriate to college age students. Students participate in a social skills group for one hour weekly. Western Connection students are encouraged to join clubs and attend special college presentations. They take advantage of the fitness facilities and the game rooms.
There are at least two social or cultural events held per month- shared by both Western Connection and WCSC education, and social work students.
Activities at the college have included:
- Coffee Houses
- Football Games/Tailgating Parties
- Theater Productions
- Hikes, Bowling, Miniature Golf