ACCESS is a program that helps high school special education students build employment and vocational skills. ACCESS gives school districts within the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency (AEA 9) service area one more way to meet the academic vocational needs of students with disabilities.

High school students receiving special education services are eligible. You get to complete some career exploration activities, identify a career goal, then take any related academic or vaocational courses. You must be able to perform the essential skills of the courses with reasonable accommodations. In addition, you must remain enrolled in high school while you are in the program.  Most schools allow ACCESS students to walk with their graduation class, and receive their diploma when they complete the program.

You receive a high level of support, including one-on-one assistance with coursework and in developing time management, study, and self-advocacy skills that help you be successful in school. You meet with your ACCESS Specialist on a regular basis to set goals and review progress. As you prepare to exit the ACCESS program, you transition into using the student support services offered at the college. Throughout ACCESS, your progress is tracked to assist the school district in documenting progress in your IEP.

Your school district pays. The program costs about $3,000 - $3,500 per student per semester and includes tuition, books, and the services provided. 

How do I get referred to the program?

  1. The IEP team explores multiple options for vocational and employability skill development. If the IEP team determines your needs cannot be met in the high school, they can make a referral to ACCESS. 
  2. A meeting is scheduled with an ACCESS representative. During this planning time, the IEP team, the student and parent(s) discuss options at the college and tour the campus. 
  3. If the IEP team determines ACCESS is the best route, the IEP is revised to reflect that decision.
  4. ACCESS Program staff will coordinate the college application process and provide all of the needed student support services.

 NOTE: Referrals should be made at least one semester before the student intends to participate in ACCESS. For more information about ACCESS, call 563-441-4355.