Leveraging Education For Advancement Program (LEAP)

The Leveraging Education for Advancement Program (LEAP) is an Inclusive Postsecondary Education Program (IPSE). The LEAP program at Albany Technical College (ATC) is designed to provide students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, ages 18 and older, an inclusive post-secondary college education experience. LEAP focuses on developing academic, personal, and self-advocacy skills that lead to employment. Each participant works closely with an academic transition teacher and a trained mentor to assist students in meeting their academic and social needs. LEAP students receive a personalized postsecondary education.


Student programming is based on the strengths and needs of the individual student identified through the development of a Person-Centered Plan. LEAP students can earn a Business Office Assistant certificate. All courses are taught by ATC faculty, who are dedicated to teaching and preparing all students. Courses are offered on the Albany Tech campus where LEAP students have the opportunity to take courses alongside other college students. Graduates earning the Business Office Assistant certificate are prepared to perform a variety of duties in any office clerical occupation that requires knowledge of office systems and procedures. Along with taking credit classes, students have the opportunity to participate in career development workshops, social community integration, job shadowing, and internships. In addition to gaining new skills and training, each student is matched with a trained mentor to help build the college campus experience and meet academic requirements. LEAP students can enjoy the full college experience by participating in college activities, clubs, and organizations that are available to all ATC students.


The LEAP mission is to provide a personalized inclusive postsecondary college education to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, equipping them to reach their full potential through the development of academic, personal, and self-advocacy skills that lead to employment and self-sufficiency.

Background Information/History

The U.S. Department of Education awarded the School of Public Health at Georgia State University a grant to support a consortium of universities working to improve access to higher education for students with intellectual disabilities. Albany Technical College was awarded a grant by the Georgia Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Consortium (GAIPSEC) to expand opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Center for Leadership Development (CLD) at Georgia State University, which is a representative on the GAIPSEC steering committee, manages the grant. Albany Technical College is the first of the technical colleges in Georgia to implement an Inclusive Post-secondary Education Program (IPSE). ATC’s Leveraging Education for Advancement Program (LEAP) offers an inclusive program that results in a Business Office Assistant certificate. There are approximately 200 other programs throughout the United States.

Student Success

Leveraging Education for Advancement Program (LEAP) - Application Overview

The LEAP program is a customized program of study that assists in preparing students with intellectual and developmental disabilities for employment. Individuals who desire to complete a college education program, and who are willing to commit to career preparation are strongly encouraged to apply. Students are accepted for admission each semester. Credit courses follow fall, spring, and summer semester schedules.

LEAP Application Form

Eligibility Criteria

The goal of the application screening process is to identify ideal candidates for the LEAP program. Through the screening process, practical information is gained to determine a candidate’s potential for success. Applicants should demonstrate the following minimal requirements:

  • Minimum fifth-grade reading level preferred.
  • Possess basic math skills and the ability to use a calculator.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain appropriate social and emotional behavior.
  • Ability to meet personal needs without assistance.
  • Must be able to navigate the campus independently and safely.
  • Desire and motivation to complete a postsecondary program.
  • Commitment to complete all assignments with support.
  • Ability to be successful in competitive employment situations.
  • Served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Active placement in a Vocational Rehabilitation program is strongly recommended.

Applicants considering applying to the LEAP program should have received special education services on the secondary level and graduated with a regular high school diploma. Individuals who meet all eligibility criteria should apply.

Application Process Steps

  1. Complete the LEAP application package and submit all required documents.
  2. All applications will be screened to verify eligibility.
  3. The college entrance exam will be administered. Scores will be waived.
  4. Eligible applicants will be contacted for a student and family interview.
  5. Candidates accepted into the LEAP program must complete an application to enroll in Albany Technical College. A non-refundable $25 application fee is required.
  6. Applicants must apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA application.

Selection Process

Eligible students will be selected based upon the review of the application information, interview results, and recommendations. Selection and admission to the LEAP program will also include the following criteria.

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must have a documented intellectual or developmental disability that interferes with academic performance.
  • Should be able to participate in a 50-minute course and function independently for 2-hour blocks of time.
  • Must demonstrate the ability to accept and follow reasonable rules and behave respectfully towards others.
  • Must have sufficient emotional and independent stability to participate in all aspects of the LEAP program, including coursework and campus environment.
  • Must demonstrate the desire to attend the LEAP program and adhere to the Albany Technical College policies regarding, attendance, coursework participation, and code of conduct.
  • Must have the ability to be successful in competitive employment situations.

If you are ready to take the LEAP, download the application packet. Print and return the completed application packet along with all documents to our office:

If you have any questions regarding the LEAP program, please email rwatts@albanytech.edu or call at (229) 430-2854. Staff members are available to guide you through the entire application process.

About L.E.A.P.

Watts, Regina Regina Watts
Special Needs Director
Kirkland Building, Room 156
O: (229) 430-2854
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