OASIS program’s popularity grows at North East campus

Rebecca Dunphy, Staff writer

Mercyhurst North East campus’ OASIS program opened its door to potential students, parents and professionals on Oct. 20 and 25 to educate the community about the program and how it sets a new standard for post-secondary transition institutions.

OASIS is a one- to two-year certification program that helps adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities learn academic, vocational and social skills that will help them transition more easily into the workforce. These crucial skills include making introductions, social engagement, searching and applying for jobs, and interview preparation.

“The overall goal of the OASIS program is to provide students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the chance to obtain and maintain useful employment,” said Katie Huba, interim program director. “It allows students to gain the useful hands-on skills for particular jobs, as well as for the hiring process.”

Students are given the opportunity to learn skills for a career in business administration, culinary arts, early childhood education or hospitality, in hopes that they will eventually receive meaningful employment. While students are asked to choose an area of study, the program not only provides a diverse education, but also creates opportunities to work with traditional students.

“OASIS is unique as it really gives the students more options to choose from,” said Huba. “Students participate in three to four courses a semester, and of those courses, only one is OASIS specific. It really offers the opportunity for full inclusiveness.”

Inclusiveness is a pillar of student success, as OASIS strives to give students a college experience with the ability to live on campus, have access to its many amenities and attend events hosted by the student government.

The comprehensive program that Mercyhurst North East provides has not gone unnoticed as its popularity has begun to increase, as evidenced at the recent open house.

“In previous years, the turnout for these events has been small,” said Huba. “This year, we had almost 30 people attend the event. OASIS believes that as the need for post-secondary transition programs grow, so will attendance of these events.”

This semester’s open houses have passed, but interested families can expect another opportunity to learn about the program in the spring. More information can be found online on the Mercyhurst North East website, or by calling 725-6299.