three male students posing together

COACH (Career Opportunity ACHievement)

COACH (Career Opportunity ACHievement) is a two-year cohort program for young adults with mild to moderate intellectual or developmental disabilities. In addition to an academic focus on reading, writing, math and computer literacy, COACH also promotes social skills, independence and career exploration.

COACH has been developed to provide post-transition students with engaging educational and life-skills training to help prepare for meaningful employment. 

The COACH Program is conducted on College of DuPage's main campus in Glen Ellyn on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters.

Program Goals

  • Demonstrate basic reading and math skills
  • Use technology effectively to support academic and career pursuits
  • Explore career options to identify a career path
  • Practice appropriate workplace behavior
  • Participate in on-campus and off-campus job-shadow and internship placements to gain work experience
  • Build social skills through interaction with peers and the college population at large
  • Develop self-determination through peer mentoring and staff/faculty advisement
  • Apply time management skills to effectively manage program expectations

Student working in greenhouse

Jonathan gets first-hand work experience in COD's greenhouse.

Student giving someone a hug

Mathias congratulates a classmate after the graduation ceremony.

Women smiling at the camera

Jackie and Julie are delighted to be a part of COACH's very first graduating class.

COACH group photo

The COACH programming team with college President Dr. Caputo and their LERN International Programming award.

Three students smiling

Brandon, Paul and Ashton celebrate their COACH graduation.

How to Apply

To apply for COACH, submit a completed application, the most recent IEP and two letters of recommendation with at least one from a transition teacher or special education resource personnel.  Letters of recommendation should be written by non-family members. Applicants will also complete an in-person interview independently with program staff.  Students must be able to be independent on campus during the program and should possess academic skills that generally fall within the 3 to 6 grade range. The application deadline for the fall 2024 cohort is Friday, May 10.

If at all possible, it is recommended that COACH applications and supporting documents be scanned and emailed to  If this method of exchanging information is not possible, contact Tracy Kline, Program Coordinator, or (630) 942-3779 to discuss alternative means of submitting application information. 

Program Sequence

Semesters One and Two – Skill Building

Students review and build skills in fundamental math, literacy and computer technology. They will also begin exploring career paths. This half of the program is cohort-focused, with curriculum designed specifically for COACH students. 

Semester Three – Job Shadowing

Students participate in job exploration/shadowing experiences which can occur on campus or off campus to further support exploring their career interests. 

Semester Four – Internship

Students gain practical experience by engaging in unpaid internships which can occur on campus or off campus for approximately 6 hours per week. 

COACH and Student Life on Campus

COACH students are integrated with the College of DuPage campus community by spending time in credit-bearing courses, mentoring and on-campus job shadow and internship experiences. 

In addition, COACH students are encouraged to participate in campus social life by joining a club, attending Student Life activities and participating in campus events. If available, students are also paired with a COD Buddy, who is a student who is trained in working with students with intellectual disabilities. COD Buddies act as ambassadors and mentors to COACH students, providing them a connection to the social aspect of the college experience. 

The tuition for COACH is $2,499 per semester.

For additional programming for students with developmental or intellectual disabilities, visit our Vocational Skills page.  


Karla Megow is our COACH-Year One morning instructor. Karla has over 40 years of experience teaching students with special needs in the high school and college settings. 

Valerie Ulett is our COACH-Year One afternoon instructor.  Val has taught at COD for over 30 years. She taught in the Office and Technology Department for 10 years and in the Developmental Education Department for over 20 years.

Pamela Neuner is our COACH-Year Two morning instructor. Pam was a teacher of students with special needs in the high school setting for over 30 years.  She has been teaching at COD for five years.

Carol Dvorak-Mola is our COACH-Year Two afternoon instructor. Carol was a teacher of students with special needs in the high school setting for over 30 years. She has been teaching at COD for five years.

Contact Information

Continuing Education
Student Resource Center (SRC), Room 1110
(630) 942-2208
Fax: (630) 942-3785

Front Desk Hours
  • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Office hours may vary due to holidays and staff coverage.