When considering the pursuit of an associate degree, diploma or trade certification, Teresa Brown wants individuals with disabilities residing in the local and area community to know they have both a place and pathway to success at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

Brown is ECTC’s director of the Office of Student Accessibility. She began her new job Feb. 1.

Brown brings to the role a background of experience and success in serving those with special physical, mental or learning challenges. For the past 13 years, she worked for the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, connecting disabled clients with employment opportunities. Before that she worked in separate positions with both the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program under the Division of Family and Child Services and the Head Start program in Georgia.

As its director, Brown is responsible for guiding ECTC’s Student Accessibility Services Office in developing reasonable accommodations to assist individual students with disabilities outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When pointing to one of her new goals for the office in recruiting students with special needs at each local high school, Brown said, “I want (their) parents to understand and the student to understand that they can go further than high school. They have (Individualized Education Programs) in school. We have accommodations here.”

Brown’s goal shows she and ECTC want to do more than understand and accommodate current students with special needs. She and the college want to more proactively and purposefully reach out and recruit new students with disabilities or special challenges and set them on a course toward their education and career goals.

Implementing programs and processes to make the community college experience more accessible, convenient and welcoming for students with disabilities is part of ECTC’s past and future success. Brown and her office will help new and future students springboard to a future of possibility and potential.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

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