SOUTH PORTLAND — Southern Maine Community College soon will offer vital skills training to young people with intellectual disabilities under a new partnership formed with STRIVE U.

SMCC and STRIVE U officials have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide programming for 14 students with special education needs starting in June and continuing through the 2020-21 academic year, the college said in a written statement.

STRIVE U is a nonprofit program that helps young people with intellectual disabilities live with dignity and respect as active members of the community.

SMCC will include STRIVE U students in summer orientation sessions designed to introduce them to college life and help them feel at home on campus. The students then will take two fall courses and two spring courses, which will focus on working in a professional environment, using Microsoft computer applications, providing customer service and developing interpersonal skills.

The STRIVE U students will be issued SMCC identification cards and free bus passes, and will be invited to participate in the college’s graduation ceremony in May. SMCC will provide a part-time coordinator to oversee the program.

“The combination of courses, co-curricular activities, involvement in student life and many other opportunities make this a tremendous match for our program,” said Lori Sanville, executive director of PSL Services/STRIVE. “We’re excited to get started.”

SMCC President Joe Cassidy said the college courses will be geared toward expanding employment opportunities for STRIVE U students and helping them live independently.

“SMCC is committed to students’ success, whether they are earning a degree, undergoing workforce training or taking part in customized programs such as this,” Cassidy said.

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