A Northwestern student and professor meet with a NEXT program participant.

NEXT program goals

Northwestern NEXT is a pragmatic, student-centered campus life and learning experience that offers learning and empowerment opportunities to students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. NEXT students participate in an inclusive Christian-college community while taking courses in functional academics, life skills, health and wellness, and career readiness; promoting independence, social growth, and employment outcomes.

Students in the Northwestern NEXT program will take classes with individually customized goals and objectives, along with some audited college catalog courses. Classes will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis. Graduates of NEXT will receive a certificate when they have achieved competency in the following areas:

  1. ACADEMIC APTITUDE Graduates will demonstrate basic competency in math, reading and writing and have the necessary critical-thinking and problem-solving skills for making responsible personal, community-living and career decisions.

  2. INDEPENDENT LIVING Graduates will be independently responsible for their own personal care and daily living needs. They'll have appropriate interpersonal skills and be able to function in and enjoy social situations.

  3. HEALTH & WELLNESS Graduates will understand the importance of personal health and wellness and be able to make healthy choices with regard to diet, physical activity, relationships and sexuality in a Christ-centered environment.

  4. CAREER READINESS After classes in career readiness, employment internships and volunteer opportunities, graduates will have a better understanding of their job interests and skill sets. Graduates will develop resume writing and and job interview skills.