Program Overview

What is Bear POWER?

Bear POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Work, Education and Resilience) at Missouri State University is a two year, five semester inclusive college program for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The program that was created to offer a post-secondary education opportunity to students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) transitioning out of high school.

The Bear POWER program model has been developed using best practices derived from the Think College inclusive postsecondary model and working with a collaborative team of faculty and staff at Missouri State University.

The program starts in fall semester and extends five full semesters, not including summer. Each cohort will include up to ten students. 

Bear POWER is highly focused on maintaining academic standards through modification of coursework and preparing students for employment upon graduation from the program.

How does Bear POWER work?

Academics: Students will engage in a combination of traditional courses and internship based experiences with clear expectations for participation in university life. Two courses will be chosen from the regular academic course options per semester and students will be sitting alongside typical peers to audit and credit classes.

Audited classes are taken as noncredit, therefore the students will receive Bear POWER credits and a grade that will go towards their certificate of completion. Students will choose an “Area of Concentration” using person centered planning methods and student interest in employment following graduation.

Modifications to required coursework for each class will be made as needed and faculty will undergo training based on Universal Design for Learning.

Independent Living: Living on Missouri State University campus is an integral part of the college experience and will help Bear POWER students increase their social integration and exposure to campus life. Students will get a strong foundation in learning self-help and life skills as well as independence and fostering self-determination.

All students will be held to a high standard and expected to follow rules and regulations of Missouri State University Residence Life.

Gainful Employment: During their first two semesters, students will create a Person Centered Plan and identify their interests in employment areas upon graduation. Within the third semester Bear POWER students will work on developing a resume and interviewing.

Students will also be required to participate in internship experiences, both on campus and within the community.

What can Bear POWER do for you?

The Bear POWER Program at Missouri State University gives students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) the opportunity to pursue their education after high school.

Earning a Bear POWER certificate will create new opportunities for jobs that are a good match to skills and dreams of those participating. Every effort is made to match a career pathway to actual community needs tied to work force development in the Springfield area and beyond.