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More college scholarships offered

Lifetime Assistance CEO and President James Branciforte with Richard VanGee, who is enrolled in certificate program at MCC. Courtesy of Lifetime Assistance

Lifetime Assistance CEO and President James Branciforte with Richard VanGee, who is enrolled in certificate program at MCC. Courtesy of Lifetime Assistance

Ten more local individuals with disabilities will be able to pursue a college education, thanks to scholarships funded by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

Individuals served by Lifetime Assistance Inc. of Chili who have Down syndrome, autism and other intellectual disabilities will be able to pursue a two-year achievement award certificate program at Monroe Community College. The program is designed specifically for students recruited through Lifetime Assistance. Students will audit classes, complete internships, participate in social clubs and work with peer mentors.

According to a release, students with disabilities are less than half as likely as their peers to have attended college in the two years after high school, according to a U.S. Education Department report.

One student bucking the trend is Richard VanGee of Rochester, who is visually impaired and has a mild intellectual disability. With help from Lifetime Assistance, he enrolled in spring 2012 in the program at MCC. He audited classes in history, music and disability education, participated in several social activities and completed internships at local radio stations, Hochstein School of Music and Dance and The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

When he completes the program in December, he will seek full-time employment in the community.

“Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Excellus BCBS, we can now open the doors to higher education wider for students with developmental disabilities,” said James Branciforte, Lifetime Assistance president and CEO.

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