College and Career Readiness

Independence and Literacy Education for Adults with Disabilities (I-LEAD)

I-LEAD (Independence and Literacy Education for Adults with Disabilities) is a program through Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness that provides specialized education and transition courses for adults with a diagnosed intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, or other special learning need.

What You Will Learn

Students learn skills for independent living, successful employment, and active participation in the community. I-LEAD courses help students improve their reading and writing, interpersonal skills, math and money management, consumer skills, community living, job success skills, government knowledge, and basic computer skills. Specialized transition programs, such as Project Search, help students gain real-life work experience through internships with local area employers.

Project Search

Students who have completed at least one year of I-LEAD classes are given the opportunity to apply for Project Search. Project Search is a national initiative through which students with significant intellectual disabilities learn important employability skills through connections to available internship opportunities in the marketplace. This year-long real-world experience gives individuals an opportunity to:

  • contextualize literacy instruction to the world of work
  • receive a free internship experience and employability skills training
  • rotate through different internship experiences at Mercy Hospital
  • work in high-status organizations and learn high-demand skill sets
  • develop their strengths
  • work towards becoming more independent in areas such as employment, transportation and daily living

Our Project Search students discover fulfilling careers and work with our partnering organizations, such as Mercy Hospital, to develop marketable and transferable skills that may lead to competitive employment. Our Project Search internship sites meet each student’s strengths, creating meaningful learning environments that empower students with disabilities to learn, achieve, and succeed. Graduates who complete the year-long program leave with:

  • a career plan that will guide them through their educational and
  • employment journey in the future
  • continued, personalized job coaching and training
  • employability skills for future employment
  • valuable work experience and references that can be added to their
  • resume
  • improved math, reading, and writing skills for the workplace

Interested individuals complete an application and are interviewed by a multidisciplinary team to determine eligibility and suitability. Students attend four days/week for six hours/day. The day is divided between literacy/employability skills training and rotation through three different internships with various hospital-related job functions. All classes and internships are held at Mercy Hospital in Charlotte, NC. 

Learn About College and Career Readiness

Why Choose Central Piedmont

Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness offers programs to develop students’ academic skills, earn a high school equivalency (GED or HiSET) or adult high school diploma, learn English as a second language (ESL), develop employability skills and participate in various work-based-learning experiences, or explore career and post-secondary educational opportunities. Many programs are free or at a very low cost for qualified participants. 

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

Additional Information

  • Who Can Enroll?

    To be eligible for I-LEAD, you must:

    • be 16 years or older
    • be officially withdrawn from your last K-12 public, private, or home school
    • have a documented diagnosis of an intellectual disability or traumatic brain injury
    • provide a current psychological evaluation
    • have the ability to complete an assessment at a level offered at the location
    • have the ability to independently navigate campus (Central Campus students)
    • Project Search: must have completed one year of I-LEAD courses

    Students between 16-17 years of age must petition to enroll (review the requirements for minors).

  • Locations

    Registration in I-LEAD courses depends on class availability. I-LEAD often operates on a wait-list, but every attempt is made to minimize the wait. I-LEAD classes are held Monday – Thursday on Central Campus at the Education Center. Morning and afternoon classes are available.

  • How Do I Enroll?

    Step 1. Attend an I-LEAD Information/Orientation Session

    We encourage you to bring a family member, friend, or other support with you. You should also bring your social security number and psychological evaluation to the information session. If you arrive 15 minutes or more late, you will need to reschedule orientation for the next available date.

    I-LEAD orientation session dates:

    • TBD

    All I-LEAD information sessions are held at the Central Campus Education Center. Parking is available in the student parking deck at the corner of East Fourth Street and Charlottetowne Avenue.

    Step 2. Get Your Central Piedmont Login

    Create Central Piedmont login.

    Step 3. Take Placement Tests

    You may schedule placement testing after attending an orientation and completing the intake process with Disability Services. The placement testing results allow us to develop a customized study plan for each student.

    Step 4. Register

    Registration depends on class availability. I-LEAD often operates on a wait-list, but every attempt is made to minimize the wait.

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