University of Minnesota
Check & Connect Student Engagement Intervention | Institute on Community Integration
Institute on Community Integration CEHD

Photo of mentor with student, representing Check & Connect Student Engagement Intervention.

Check & Connect Community Spotlight

Central Lakes College and Ridgewater College
Brainerd and Willmar, MN 

Central Lakes CollegeRidgewater College

What: An adaptation of Check & Connect in the postsecondary setting for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). The Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota (headquarters of Check & Connect) and two Minnesota community and technical colleges – Central Lakes College (Brainerd, MN) and Ridgewater College (Willmar, MN) – are creating an inclusive, comprehensive model for engaging and retaining students with ID/DD in postsecondary programs.

This demonstration project provides Check & Connect “coaches” (akin to mentors in traditional Check & Connect) to work with college students with ID/DD to address their engagement, persistence, and successful program completion. The project focuses on academic engagement, social integration, comprehensive systems of student support, state and community interagency collaboration, and successful program completion leading to positive employment and independent living outcomes.

This project is part of a national movement to provide postsecondary opportunities for students with ID/DD; see for more information. It also builds on a long history of Occupational Skills Programs (OSP) at Minnesota community and technical colleges. These programs offer work-based training and classroom instruction for persons with disabilities with the intended outcome of competitive entry-level employment.

Where: Central Lakes College in Brainerd, MN and Ridgewater College in Willmar, MN


When: 2010-2015

Funded by: Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID), Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education

Contact: Jean Ness, Ed.D., Research Associate, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota, 612-625-5322,

See also related research project: Check & Connect: A Model for Engaging and Retaining Students with Intellectual Disabilities in Higher Education

See more Check & Connect Community Spotlights

Posted September 8, 2012

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