MCCC Receives Grant To Develop Educational Model
Program for People with Down Syndrome and Other Intellectual Disabilities


During a reception on Oct. 6 at Trenton’s Masonic Temple, The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) announced new funding grants of approximately $50,000 each to Mercer County Community College and The College of New Jersey. The colleges will create model programs that will expand opportunities in postsecondary educational for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

Held at Trenton’s Masonic Temple, the event gave current students, parents and college officials the opportunity to speak about their hopes for these programs.

Steve and Laura Riggio of Bernardsville, whose 16-year-old daughter has Down syndrome, have provided funding for the program. Mr. Riggio is CEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “Our vision is to create a model program in New Jersey that can be replicated in communities across the country,” said Mr. Riggio, who also serves on the NDSS Board of Directors. “Both of the institutions selected to receive grants embrace our belief that young adults with intellectual disabilities deserve the opportunity to enrich their lives through higher education.”

The first group of students is expected to begin the program in fall 2006.

The National Down Syndrome Society is a nonprofit organization with more than 200 affiliates nationwide representing the more than 350,000 Americans who have this genetic condition. Their goal for this program is to provide greater opportunities for academic enrichment, socialization, independent living and competitive employment. The organization is working to make the program affordable by exploring available funding sources and advocating for federal financial aid.

For more information contact MCCC’s Office of Academic Support Services at 609-586-4800 ext. 3422.

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