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DREAM grant helps OASIS students thrive

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The OASIS Program at Mercyhurst North East, which provides the academic and vocational training needed for adults with intellectual disabilities to land jobs, recently received a $25,000 grant from the DREAM Partnership. This is the third year of funding from the DREAM Partnership, for a total of more than $122,000 for scholarships, professional development, software, assessment and instructional tools.

This non-credit, one or two-year program is designed for students who have completed high school. Current certificates include Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Early Childhood Education and Business. After successful completion of classes and competencies, students are placed in an internship at a local business. Currently 85 percent of OASIS graduates are employed or continuing their education.

This year five students graduated from the program:

Darryl Grace of Erie, Business

Ryan Kalie of Erie, Hospitality

Shelby O’Hara of Waterford, Early Childhood Education

Matthew Szewczyk of Harborcreek, Early Childhood Education

Jean-Domenik Santini of Erie, Culinary Arts

“The OASIS program has done so much for me over the year,” said Kalie, who recently was recognized by the Westfield-Mayville, N.Y. Rotary with a high achievement award. “It was because of the scholarship from the DREAM Partnership that I was able to come to OASIS and learn.

“I am excited to use all the skills to do a really good job,” said Kalie, who is currently completing an externship at the Bayfront Erie Sheraton.

The Oasis Program is designated a Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program by the U.S. Department of Education, allowing eligible students federal aid to attend. For more information on how to apply for the program, contact Program Director Katie Huba, 814-725-6299,; or Faculty Supervisor Phil Belfiore, 814-824-2267,


PHOTO: Katie Huba, director of the OASIS program, congratulates student Ryan Kalie on receiving the High Achievement Award from the Westfield-Mayville Rotary.