Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (REACH)

Executive director

  • Jo Hendrickson (Teaching and Learning)


  • Pamela Ries (Teaching and Learning)
Web site:

Postsecondary Program of Study

The Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (REACH) program is a two-year postsecondary education certificate program that focuses on meeting the transition needs of students with multiple learning and intellectual disabilities in an inclusive university setting. The program emphasizes life skills for independent living and features person-centered planning. Students gain self-advocacy skills, self-confidence, interpersonal skills, problem-solving abilities, daily life competencies, and career readiness. 

REACH offers courses on academic skill building, career preparation, student and community life skills, and socialization. REACH courses are taught by College of Education instructors. 

The program offers an array of support services that promote student success in all educational, career, and living environments. It also provides vocational internship opportunities and postprogram support for students and families.

REACH students live in a University of Iowa residence hall, where they receive support from specially trained resident assistants. A fully inclusive college environment provides students with age-appropriate community opportunities and interactions with other University of Iowa students.

A limited number of REACH alumni may elect to participate in the program's third-year option. Participation during the third year involves full-time course work; emphasis is on additional courses and internships that promote self-sufficiency, independent living, and self-determination.

For more information, visit the REACH web site.


The following courses are open only to students enrolled in the REACH program.

205:001 (REA:0001) Academic Success2 s.h.
Tools that help students succeed in academic courses; basic organization, efficient note taking, study and test‑taking skills; participation in activities that increase awareness of classroom dynamics; solutions for test anxiety; ways to approach diverse learning experiences; how class content relates to study hall and residential facilities; seminar.
205:002 (REA:0010) Social Skills I2 s.h.
Basic interpersonal skills needed to succeed in academic, social, and employment environments; structured learning process for gaining discrete social skills necessary to initiate and maintain conversations in a variety of settings; awareness of feelings and cues in conversation to respond appropriately and have successful reciprocal interactions; lectures, modeling, role play, and practice in the community.
205:004 (REA:0020) Computers and Technology I2 s.h.
Training in computer literacy and practical skills for computer use in everyday life; computer parts and functions, the Windows operating system, computer applications; use of the personal computer to improve personal, academic and workplace productivity; group discussion, demonstrations, and multimedia experience support diverse learning styles.
205:005 (REA:0021) Computers and Technology II2 s.h.
Builds on 205:004 (REA:0020); fundamental computer competencies and strategies to simplify everyday life and enhance workplace performance; opportunity to improve practical skills for the workplace, communication with others, and daily life; tools for improving personal organization and communication and for meeting academic, entertainment, and workplace needs; group discussion, demonstration, independent exploration, and a multimedia experience support diverse learning styles.
205:006 (REA:0090) Current Events1 s.h.
Forum to increase knowledge and ability to comment on current events; voting and political process, civic responsibilities in the local and federal elections process, how students can participate; use of various forms of media (i.e., print, broadcast, Internet) to develop critical thinking skills related to awareness of current events and their impact; personal safety issues; effective communication skills for interacting with peers and college personnel.
205:007 (REA:0030) Health and Wellness I--Exploration1 s.h.
Introduction to health and personal wellness; the seven dimensions of wellness and health awareness; overview of topics such as nutrition, responsible sexual behavior, consequences of substance use, disease prevention; opportunity for students to build knowledge about their own emotional, mental, and physical health; framework for further exploration of everyday health and wellness; first in a series.
205:008 (REA:0031) Health and Wellness II--Healthy Lifestyles2 s.h.
Health and wellness personalized for students; help in assessing individual health and wellness decisions and behaviors to improve current and long‑term health and wellness; small group discussion, individual assessments, real‑life exploration, interactions with health educators, one‑on‑one student support; second in a series.
205:010 (REA:0033) Personal Relationships and Sexuality1 s.h.
Help in maintaining current relationships and establishing new ones with family, friends, coworkers, teachers, significant others, and strangers; emotions, interpersonal communication skills, social cues, appropriate workplace relationships, risk prevention, responsible sexual behavior; influence of family values, culture, peer pressure, other factors in one's decisions about sexual behavior; disability awareness related to relationships, pregnancy prevention, the process of pregnancy; group discussion, one‑on‑one counseling support, role‑playing, guided real‑world experiences.
205:011 (REA:0040) Personal Finance and Math I2 s.h.
Understanding of numbers, operations, and managing personal finances; computation strategies, problem‑solving strategies, skills for good consumers; opportunity to practice math skills in the community and the workplace; first in a series.
205:012 (REA:0041) Personal Finance and Math II2 s.h.
Skills and knowledge needed for managing personal finances; banking, budgeting, insurance, how to be a good consumer; students plan for their financial future by studying paycheck information, actual income, and tax responsibility; research on independent living costs; second in a series.
205:013 (REA:0050) Lifetime Reading1 s.h.
Enhancement of leisure reading toward enjoyment of reading as a lifetime activity; trip to the library to discover interesting genres and subjects; individual and group activities to review and talk about books; how to discuss components of books such as plot, characters.
205:014 (REA:0051) Practical Writing1 s.h.
Writing tools for success in daily living; experience with a range of writing forms, beginning with short organizational forms such as to‑do and grocery lists and progressing to family correspondence and business letters; observation and demonstration of writing techniques in group activities; help with self‑expression in written formats, with focus on organization and communication with others; students practice writing techniques in class, in their residence halls, and in the community; seminar.
205:015 (REA:0052) Literature and the Arts1 s.h.
Exposure to literature and the arts and the experience of connection and life enhancement that arts activities provide; reading and discussing literature, field trips to museums, musical performances, plays; opportunity to review and identify leisure activities to enjoy throughout life.
205:016 (REA:0080) Exploring Issues in Society1 s.h.
Diversity and social justice issues; some social implications of being a person with a disability (e.g., negative treatment from others due to stigma, ignorance, stereotypes); guidance toward empowerment in self‑advocacy at work, at school, and in community life; overview of cognitive and learning disabilities, Americans with Disabilities Act and other legislation that promotes equality, history of the disability rights movement, current social trends affecting people with disabilities; perspectives from America's history of social, cultural, and religious unity, celebration, and conflict.
205:017 (REA:0060) Tools for Life I: Critical Thinking and Decision Making1 s.h.
Introduction to strategies, key elements, and resources for critical thinking; problem‑solving and critical‑thinking strategies and skills for responsible, independent decision making in personal, university, career, and community contexts; small‑group discussion, case studies, role‑playing, and applied practice in real‑world situations related to daily, personal, academic, and career decisions.
205:018 (REA:0061) Tools for Life II: Problem Solving1 s.h.
Introduction to strategies and methods of problem solving; evaluation of scenarios from academic, social, and work environments; discussion of students' personal and current experiences; focus on development of interpersonal communication skills, relationship building, independence, career selection.
205:019 (REA:0081) Personal Leadership1 s.h.
Builds on concepts learned in 205:016 (REA:0080); self‑advocacy and awareness of individual strengths as empowerment for leadership roles in the community; qualities of a leader, value of mentors, importance of community service; elements of work‑life balance; opportunities to participate in life‑long service learning and leadership.
205:020 (REA:0091) Psychology1 s.h.
Basic concepts of psychology, with focus on daily life and understanding behavior; situations encountered as persons with an intellectual disability; differences between a psychologist, psychiatrist, and counselor; role of professionals; individual differences and social influences on behavior; introduction to scientific method, conducting basic experiments.
205:021 (REA:0092) Sciences of Life1 s.h.
Scientific skills as they relate to everyday life and the world; skills involving independent operation of tools and equipment, working in a group, appropriate strategies for decision making and problem solving based on the scientific method; exploration of life sciences through classroom learning and exploratory activities.
205:025 (REA:0062) Social Skills II2 s.h.
Continuation of 205:002 (REA:0010); more advanced relationship skills that require self‑regulation; self‑awareness; applying skills for communicating under stress; structured learning process including repetitive practice and modeling as key components.
205:030 (REA:0100) Career Exploration4 s.h.
Opportunity to explore, enhance, or broaden work interests, skills, and potential career opportunities; interest inventories, review of vocational experiences, interactive employer presentations, informational interviews, job site experiences; focus on self‑assessment of one's individual vocational strengths.
205:031 (REA:0101) Job Search Strategies2 s.h.
Fundamental tools and techniques for getting a job; students create a résumé, including references and updated work history; interview techniques, information gathering, thank‑you letters, work‑related vocabulary, appropriate behaviors and attitudes for a successful job search; role playing, demonstrations, real‑world practice.
205:032 (REA:0102) Entrepreneurism2 s.h.
Characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of self‑employment; legal aspects of forming a business, marketing, acquiring start‑up funding and other resources; financial obligations and monitoring of funds required for a successful business; students write a business plan.
205:033 (REA:0200) Business Support Seminar1 s.h.
Aspects of careers in business support; office procedures, word processing skills, oral and written communication, records management, business terminology.
205:034 (REA:0201) Creative Arts Seminar2 s.h.
Aspects of careers in creative arts; availability of employment, professional association memberships, vocabulary used in the creative arts work environment.
205:035 (REA:0202) Education Career Seminar1 s.h.
Aspects of careers in education; additional training typically required for careers in education, child/student needs, lesson planning.
205:036 (REA:0203) Health Services Seminar1 s.h.
Aspects of careers in health services; office procedures and equipment, customer service skills, terminology used in health care environments.
205:037 (REA:0204) Hospitality Seminar1 s.h.
Aspects of careers in hospitality; customer service skills, phone and counter etiquette, vocabulary used in the hospitality industry.
205:038 (REA:0205) Human Services Seminar1 s.h.
Aspects of careers in human services; types of human services environments, interpersonal relationships and boundaries, paperwork requirements, terminology commonly used in human services environments.
205:040 (REA:0207) Marketing/Sales Seminar1 s.h.
Aspects of careers in marketing and sales; customer service skills, use of retail equipment, marketing techniques and the importance of product appearance, pricing and advertising, vocabulary used in a retail sales environment.
205:041 (REA:0208) Parks and Natural Resources Seminar1 s.h.
Aspects of careers in parks and natural resources management; operation and maintenance of equipment, safety procedures, customer service skills, typical vocabulary for positions involving care and management of shrubs, trees, flowers, and turf.
205:042 (REA:0209) Skilled Trades Seminar1 s.h.
Aspects of careers in the skilled trades; occupational skill standards in specific skilled trades, apprenticeships or advanced training required, safety in the workplace, vocabulary typical for specific skilled‑trade work environments.
205:043 (REA:0210) Information/Technology Seminar1 s.h.
Aspects of careers in information technology; occupational skill requirements and standards, knowledge of typical equipment employees must operate, safety in the workplace, typical vocabulary for information technology work environments.
205:044 (REA:0211) Culinary Arts Seminar2 s.h.
Different types of careers in the food industry; workplace skills and tasks; continuing training and education options; equipment and food safety; basic preparation steps, food presentation, place settings; field trips. Requirements: enrollment in REACH program.
205:046 (REA:0212) Community College Prep Seminar1 s.h.
Preparation to continue education at a community college after REACH; application and admission testing requirements, how to access the services offered at Student Disability Services; exploration of associate degree and  certificate; area of study requirements and courses offered.
205:047 (REA:0103) Job Search Strategies II2 s.h.
Continuation of 205:031 (REA:0101); update résumés, references, and cover pages; appropriate behaviors and attitudes for successful job search; seek and apply for jobs with assistance from instructor.
205:050 (REA:0070) Life Skills I--Transitions2 s.h.
Components of successful independent and community living; personal safety issues, effective communication skills for interacting with peers and college personnel, how to access broad community resources for living, work, and leisure; students develop a plan for personal daily routines; classroom activities, practical experiences on campus and in the community.
205:051 (REA:0071) Life Skills II--Community Life2 s.h.
Review of previously learned skills for making the transition to independent living in the college environment; use of a personal planner for managing daily routines and schedules, planning for independent living after graduation; classroom activities, practical experiences on campus and in the community.
205:052 (REA:0072) Life Skills III--On Your Own2 s.h.
Goal setting and planning for independent living after college; how to use daily living skills from college in students' planned home communities; skills required for finding and managing a home or apartment, using community resources and agencies, and meeting basic needs; how to be interdependent and independent in the community.
205:053 (REA:0073) Life Skills IV--Transition Planning2 s.h.
Work on transition plan during spring semester of final year—goal setting and planning for independent living after college; how to use daily living skills from college in students' planned home communities; using community resources and agencies; meeting basic needs; how to be interdependent and independent in student's home community; identification of transition team members; plan and lead transition meeting. Requirements: enrollment in REACH program.
205:054 (REA:0074) Household Management II3 s.h.
Continuation of 205:055 (REA:0075); preparation for independent apartment living; experiential training, assessment to determine support needs; apartment living, personal care, value shopping and budgeting, preparing meals, successful community living.
205:055 (REA:0075) Household Management I3 s.h.
Independent living skills introduced in the life skills and health and wellness courses; hands‑on experience in room care, clothing care, food/kitchen safety, meal planning and nutrition, food preparation, simple recipes, grocery shopping, event planning.
205:056 (REA:0094) Introduction to Spanish: Language and Culture2 s.h.
Introduction to Spanish language and culture; emphasis on basic conversational phrases, functional vocabulary, and cultural awareness; diversity of 21st‑century Spanish‑speaking world.
205:057 (REA:0076) Community Leisure and Advocacy1 s.h.
Utilizing community resources while promoting self‑advocacy and leadership; student support for transitioning from a university setting to community living; exploration of community resources related to recreation, entertainment, and independent living using multiple media sources for information gathering; field trips to investigate local resources; research related resources within students' home communities. Requirements: enrollment in REACH program.
205:058 (REA:0078) Historical Documentary Making2 s.h.
History of disabilities (learning and physical disabilities); ground work for making a historical documentary; desktop documentary software used by student teams to produce documentaries on history of disability rights movement. Requirements: enrollment in REACH program.
205:059 (REA:0079) Service Learning2 s.h.
Classroom‑based learning combined with community service; available resources and ways to better a community; assessment of community needs, research volunteer organizations, service‑learning opportunities within the community.
205:060 (REA:0300) Internship I--Preparr.
Introduction to functional skills, job expectations, environments of the workplace; students venture out into the community and see first‑hand what a specific career or job entails; role of the influencer; small groups, job shadowing, tryouts—depending on individual needs and abilities; create a résumé; summer job searching skills; preparation for Internship II—applications, interviews, contacting employers. Requirements: enrollment in REACH program. 
205:061 (REA:0301) Internship IIarr.
Internship experience leading to increased independence in the workplace (e.g., more independent operation of equipment, socialization, workplace safety, problem solving, conflict management); opportunity to acquire additional workplace skills in the student's career emphasis area; employers and mentors guide students in fulfilling their job responsibilities; students maintain a journal and discuss their experience with their advisor or instructor; second of three consecutive internships.
205:062 (REA:0302) Internship IIIarr.
Internship experience with opportunities to develop more advanced skills for independent communication, problem solving, and workplace performance in the student's career emphasis area; employers and mentors observe the student in the workplace; students maintain a journal and discuss their experience with their advisor or instructor; third of three consecutive internships.
205:063 (REA:0303) Internship IVarr.
Individualized community work experiences with periodic classroom seminars;  building independent work skills, such as researching bus routes and e‑mailing weekly journals; students, instructors, and employers evaluate student's work performance.
205:064 (REA:0304) Internship Varr.
Continuation of 205:063 (REA:0303); community work experiences with periodic classroom seminars; emphasis on work skills in the student's career area of choice and soft skills needed to be an independent worker.
205:075 (REA:0250) Academics and Life Skills Exploration I1-2 s.h.
Expand basic academic and/or life skills with discovery, experiential learning, progress monitoring, and self‑reflection; focus on strengthening foundational skills in practical academics and life skills; first of a two‑part series.
205:076 (REA:0251) Academics and Life Skills Exploration II1-2 s.h.
Builds on basic academic and/or life skills explored in 205:075 (REA:0250); REACH instructors and university faculty work together to enhance learning opportunities while providing explicit, interactive learning opportunities; progress monitoring, reflection, and focus on maintenance of basic academic and life skills; second of a two‑part series.
205:077 (REA:0252) Academics and Life Skills Enrichment I1-2 s.h.
Broaden and diversify academic and student life experiences; address specific interest areas of students; focus on communication, relationships, academics, and independent life; individualize, extend, and provide depth to student's current level of knowledge and skills.
205:078 (REA:0253) Academics and Life Skills Enrichment II1-2 s.h.
Builds on extended and diversified learning opportunities provided in 205:077 (REA:0252); transfer of skills and knowledge to new situations and environments encountered as students transition to workplace and home communities.
205:079 (REA:0254) Social Skills for Work1 s.h.
Learning opportunities to develop appropriate social skills in the workplace.
205:090 (REA:0325) Computer and Technology Literacy I2 s.h.
Self‑paced course to improve personal, academic, and career computer literacy and skills; online learning modules and computer‑based programs to increase computer skills; email and Internet searching, online learning options, online banking and purchasing, Microsoft Office programs, and online career resources. Requirements: enrollment in REACH program.
205:091 (REA:0326) Computer and Technology Literacy II2 s.h.
Self‑paced course builds on skills learned in 205:090 (REA:0325); extends and provides depth to student's current level of skill; course work focuses on enhancing personal, academic, and career computer literacy; group discussion, demonstration, independent exploration, and practice to further develop computer skills; email, online career resources, Google Drive, social networking, and budgeting. Requirements: enrollment in REACH program.
205:092 (REA:0327) Social Networking1 s.h.
Management of student's social network space; instruction and practice to increase access to people online while encouraging safe practices in social media communication; types of personal information that should not be revealed online; risks of meeting strangers online; constructing online personal space by engaging in use of appropriate messages, photos, and privacy settings. Requirements: enrollment in REACH program.
205:098 (REA:0501) Special Topicsarr.
Topics include leisure resources, current events, science, family life, consumerism, community involvement, self‑determination, self‑advocacy, leadership, assistive technology, mentoring; course assignments, instruction, and student assessment in classroom and/or community settings; may be required or elective course.
205:099 (REA:0400) Independent Studyarr.
Independent study coordinated with the student's REACH advisor.