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ACC Strive Program to Host Recruiting Event

For students in the Skilled Training Rewarding Independence and Vocational Education (STRIVE) program at Alvin Community College, they have not only an opportunity to learn life skills but to prepare to enter the job market.

Ambika Hale joined the program

“It helped me by meeting new people and collaborating with my peers,” she said. “I liked it. It has helped me a lot in finding a job.”

STRIVE is a two-year certificate program that provides Vocational Training for adults with intellectual disabilities who have graduated from high school and are looking to transition into the workforce. The program was launched in 2015 and was developed with the following goals: provide adults with intellectual disability a college experience along with vocational training.

The college will host a recruiting event on Saturday, September 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for paraprofessional/job coach to assist STRIVE students.

“We’re looking for someone who wants to make a difference, someone who loves people of all kinds,” said Mary Vlahovich, STRIVE coordinator.

The paraprofessional would assist the students in training, modeling and observing the students while they are at their jobs. They will also work alongside the students in the classroom and facilities on campus.

For many of the students, leaving high school can be challenging and there are not many opportunities to receive job training along with further life skills development.

“It’s very valuable both for their social connections and this vocational connection,” Vlahovich said. “The whole goal is to increase independence.”

The STRIVE students also benefit from being on a college campus where they interact with students from all different types of backgrounds, she said.

One of STRIVE’s recent projects included the Blue Waves Fruit and Smoothie Bar in which students developed recipes for smoothies and sold them to staff members and students on campus. Blue Waves helped the students learn more about a business operation including food handling, marketing, development and communication.

“We learned a lot of ins and outs about running a small business,” Vlahovich said.

Once she completes the program, Hale hopes to find work with animals, possibly as a veterinarian assistant.

“Right now I work with goats, lambs and cows,” she said. “I’d like to work with a vet, see what they do and gain more experience.”

Hale will join a group with STRIVE that participates in off-campus activities including an upcoming visit to a local farm.

“That will be a really good continuation with what she already knows how to do,” Vlahovich said.

For more information about the upcoming recruiting event and the STRIVE program, e-mail

To hear more about STRIVE you can check out the ACC Podcast which is available wherever podcasts are found.