HGAC Funding Innovative Pilot Project
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) and the Housing, Entrepreneurship And Readiness
Training (H.E.A.R.T.) Program created an initiative to help adults with intellectual and developmental
disabilities rejoin the workforce and continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey.
The innovative pilot project was funded by two grants totaling $1.1 million from the
Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC).
UHD's Center for Public Service and Community Research and H.E.A.R.T. developed a
Continuing Education Certificate Program to help those with I/DD advance their education
and gain career-building skills. Program participants will attend on-campus classes,
participated in on-campus internships, off-campus externships, and a final capstone
project prior to graduation. Students were paired with UHD student mentors, who provided
guidance and support during a three-semester course of study. The program accommodated
"This partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission and H.E.A.R.T. afforded individuals
the opportunity to not only earn a continuing education certificate from UHD, it also provided
a meaningful workforce experience."
"This project exemplifies what our Center stands for," Steven Villano, director of
UHD's Center for Public Service and Community Research, explains, "partnering with
the community to initiate and develop collaborative relationships that bring about
positive change and facilitates community-based research."