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The HOPS Project is a two semester (approximately 32 weeks) training program whose purpose is to provide instruction and support individuals with disabilities to gain the necessary skills and experiences in work readiness in order to successfully transition into competitive integrated employment in the horticulture industry. Students have the option to become certified on the state/national level. The program focuses primarily on four of the five core Pre-ETS areas, which include:

  • Career Exploration - Students enrolled in the HOPS program engage in presentationsfrom employees in the field, gain understanding of career and employment settingsthrough coursework and volunteering at various industry employment settings connectedto their career field interest.
  • Work-Based Learning - Students participate in both volunteer activities and a semester-long practicum to offer assistance to local non-profit organizations and at job sites alignedto their career of choice.
  • Job Readiness - Students are provided instruction to develop skills in the areas ofemployability, socialization and interpersonal, as well as independent living.
  • Self-Advocacy - Students are provided direct instruction in self-advocacy, personalcentered practices, and specific job/career related content as well as independent livingskills. This instruction is facilitated through mentorships (program staff who are collegeaged Texas A&M University students).

Fifteen (15) applicants will be selected to attend. Individuals enrolled in the program attend specifically designed classes on the campus of Texas A&M University. Students take classes alongside traditional Texas A&M students both during the fall and spring semester. During the fall semester, students take content-specific classes, field-based experience classes (to prepare for their practicum), a professionalism class, and a class of their choice to foster their independent living skills. Independent living skills are taught in conjunction with the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living.

***Acceptance is not guaranteed. A panel of reviewers will score applications after the application deadline, 4/9/2021. You will be notified in April of the status of your application. Acceptance in this program is contingent on a successful completion of the W.A.C.O. Program and a passing score in the Garden Science 101 class of W.A.C.O.

We will follow COVID-19 guidance and recommendations of Texas A&M University.

Application Instructions Individuals applying for the HOPS program must be 18 as of the start date of the WACO program (6/20/21), as attendance to WACO program is a PREREQISITE REQUIREMENT. Complete applications must be submitted and received by 4/9/2021. Contact Luis Castillo at [email protected] or Dr. Shauntā Singer at [email protected]