EXCEL (Excellence in Computer Education and Learning) is a pre-employment transition service for young adults with disabilities, primarily on the autism spectrum, preparing them for employment in high demand technical industries, post secondary education or any setting where computer skills are required. The program provides services, supports, and experiential opportunities, with the aim of enhancing skills that will prepare students to succeed in workplace and postsecondary education settings.

EXCEL increases the chance of finding and retaining community based employment in our progressively more technology driven workplace for young people on the autism spectrum graduating high school with little hope for employment or interest in post secondary education. Participants will have the opportunity to obtain nationally-recognized industry specific certification(s) in computer education and practical workplace skills development which may lead to a heightened interest in further post secondary education.The program of study requires industry specific courses with a focus on certification preparation depending on the individual’s career interest. MTC is a Microsoft certified testing site and all instruction is given by skilled professional teachers.

  • Exploring student aptitudes and interests

  • Developing concrete job-seeking skills

  • Raising student self-awareness through peer mentoring

The program requires participants to complete industry courses as well as employment preparation courses, work-simulation experiences, self advocacy, peer-mentoring, independent living and social skills training. Participants may obtain:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist certification with an understanding of office applications, networking basics, electronic communication, and the Internet.

  • Microsoft Technology Associate certification with an understanding of software development fundamentals, coding and programming.

  • IC3 Certification provides the validated skills and knowledge required for electronic recycling, software refurbishment and hardware repair.

  • Readiness to explore professional jobs or post secondary alternatives that may lead to higher-wage careers.

The 12 Month Program includes industry courses,  certification testing in EXCEL Lab , Virtual Reality platforms, employment preparation, internships, independent living and workplace readiness social skills curriculum.

Autism Speaks Logo for grant recipient

Workplace readiness training is offered in a in a 2,500 sq. ft. “Connections” suite which includes a Classroom, “Studio Apartment,” and Student Union communal setting to assist students with disabilities, primarily on the autism spectrum, to develop the social skills necessary for employment and independent living.

Communication and interpersonal skills leading to job performance; financial literacy; public transportation management as well as job-seeking skills; and other “soft” skills necessary for employment will be taught. Instruction in self-advocacy and peer mentoring will assist graduates to negotiate workplace culture by communicating their thoughts, concerns, and needs with individuals working in their area(s) of interest.

VITA, Interactive Technology was developed specifically for persons with disabilities and using the very latest in virtual reality technologies is a powerful tool to improve job interviewing skills.

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