Lynn recognized as model site for students with disabilities transition programs

Lynn named the On the Job Training (OJT) Site of the Year and receives a $2.5 million federal grant

Published Dec. 07, 2010

Lynn University’s Project ACCESS (Assimilation to Community, Careers, Employment, and Self-Sufficiency) – a program that brings young people with disabilities from the local community to campus for employment opportunities - was selected as one of only three model sites for this type of program in the state of Florida by United States Department of Education.

Lynn's program was also recently awarded the Palm Beach County Business Leadership Network (BLN) 2010 On the Job Training (OJT) Site of the Year for exemplary use of best practices in transition programming for students with disabilities.

Project ACCESS was spearheaded by the late Patrick Hartwick, dean of Lynn’s Ross College of Education who was tragically lost in the Jan. 12 Haitian earthquake. On Wednesday, Dec. 15 and Thursday, Dec. 16, the first annual Hartwick Symposium on Transition Programs will be held on campus with representatives of transitional programs from across the state.

Project ACCESS

In 2007, Lynn developed a partnership with the Palm Beach County School District called Project ACCESS. It is one of only 12 programs currently available for young people with disabilities in the state of Florida. The program offers students ages 18-21 who have graduated with a special diploma (and would otherwise have a very limited or non-existing chance of going to a post-secondary institution) with the opportunity to attend a university campus to receive academic instruction, job training and the opportunity to socialize with their peers.

“The ultimate goal of Project ACCESS is for the students to be as independent as possible,” said Mayra Camacho, a professor in Lynn’s Ross College of Education who, together with Hartwick, was influential in developing the program.

Currently, Lynn supports seven transitional students in Lynn’s library, cafeteria, fitness center, bookstore, study abroad office, College of Hospitality and College of Education.

$2.5 Million Federal Grant

On Oct. 1, 2010, Lynn and two other Florida universities were awarded a $2.5 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education to become one of three model sites for this type of program in the state of Florida. Lynn, the University of South Florida and the University of North Florida will each receive $220,000 over a period of five years to support the programs. The remainder of the funds will be used to support the start of new, related efforts, the salary of those coordinating the grant and the Hartwick Symposium for the next five years.

Hartwick Symposium on Transition Programs

In memory of Lynn’s former dean of education, the first annual Hartwick Symposium on Transition Programs will be held on campus, Wednesday, Dec. 15 and Thursday, Dec. 16. Representatives from Florida’s 12 transitional programs gather to discuss future plans and services.

Hartwick and the other members of the Lynn community lost in the Haiti earthquake will be remembered on Jan. 12, 2011 (the one-year anniversary) during Lynn’s Knights Unite Day of Caring.

Lynn Institute for Achievement and Learning

In addition to its model Project ACCESS program that helps students with disabilities from the community, Lynn supports and helps its own students with learning differences realize their full potential in college through tutoring and a variety of on-campus services offered by its Institute for Achievement and Learning.

On Jan. 28, 2011, Lynn will host the second annual Transitions Conference to help students, parents and high-school guidance counselors learn about the opportunities in higher education for students with learning differences. This year’s conference features renowned speakers including the president of the College Board. Tickets to the day-long event are $40. For additional information and a full lineup of speakers, visit