The Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) provides high school students aged 18-21 with significant (typically autism or intellectual) disabilities the opportunity to have a college experience alongside their non-disabled peers. MAICEI students are supported by the MAICEI Program Coordinator, Educational Coaches and Peer Mentors. The goal of the University of Massachusetts Amherst MAICEI Program is to enhance the academic success, career development and independence skills of its participants.
MAICEI students are provided access to all undergraduate UMass courses either audited or for credit.
A Person-Centered Plan (PCP) is created for each student. The PCP is a flexible, living document, which outlines a student's academic, career and personal goals. It serves as a guide for program participation and course and internship selection. Regular meetings are held between the student and the Program Coordinator to review the plan. Progress is evaluated and updates/changes are made as needed.
- The Student/Educational Coach Agreement (SECA) facilitates a goal-drive, working relationship between students and Educational Coaches. The agreement outlines:
- Nine areas where students need support to fully access the program
- The student's responsibilities for each area
- The supports the Educational Coach will provide if/when needed
This agreement is reviewed regularly throughout the semester and updates/changes are made as needed.
MAICEI students are supported in fully accessing UMass through:
- Travel/Transportation - Educational Coaches help students access local public transportation, campus shuttles and learn to navigate the campus on foot.
- Accommodations - Students are connected with the UMass Disability Services office if warranted, to facilitate learning accommodations.
- Peer Support - Peer Mentors are non-disabled undergraduate peers from the Communication Disorders department. Peer Mentors help students become familiar with the campus and develop friendships with students through planning and accompanying students to social and recreational activities.
MAICEI Career Development
Resume/Cover Letter Development
Personal Job Coach
Foundational Skills Tracking
Specialized Skills Opportunities
The UMASS MAICEI Program facilitates opportunities to unearth, gain self-awareness, explore, learn, and build transferable and career specific employment skills scaffolding. All UMASS MAICEI students arrive fresh to our program with diverse skill levels, interests, and needs. This student microcosm is a reflection to the greater diverse UMASS student campus body as a whole. While the overarching goal of the UMASS MAICEI Program is to help give opportunities to build essential career skills scaffolding for eventual paid employment or paid internships; our primary mission is to provide our students’ the process of becoming self-aware in their own individualized skill performance through real-time assessment tracking, coaching, trainings, and weekly feedback including the use of the Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan assessment tool. We want our students to develop these recognizable foundational skills. These foundational skills are essential for career employment sustainability across multiple career path domains for a lifetime. We hold these lofty aspirations to empower our students to come away with an honest sense of where they truly are in their individual process. The belief is they will need to continue to grow in multiple ways as all college graduates do in an ever changing job market as life circumstances forever force us to adapt and identify and master core skills.
The UMASS MAICEI program does not guarantee employment upon transitioning from the program. It does provide; however, the multiple opportunities to ensure employment skills growth, supportive and authentic relationship building, and self-actualized employability confidence in a vibrant diverse academic community with the necessary and proper supports to recognize measurable success. The UMASS Amherst culture is rooted in core values such as dignity and respect for diversity, individuality, and recognizing our differences while striving for our individual and collective excellence.
In fact, dignity and respect in honoring our differences is the UMASS Amherst motto.
The UMASS MAICEI career development program aligns with the theory that supported education is grounded in three principles as the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative Fact Sheet by Maria Paiewonsky states.
These three principles:
1. Increasing individual skills
2. Increasing support from the environment
3. Maximizing the fit between the individual and the environment
As such, our emphasis is to help hone transferable employability foundational skills within the personal career interest tracks for students. This sometimes can be an inexact process as we strive to identify the best fit possible between our students and our internship partners factoring in multiple considerations. UMASS MAICEI provides the structure of the programming within the UMASS Amherst campus setting with identified supports including district provided job coaches that work to taper off direct time at internship job sites with students as the students skill levels increase. The students do have to engage the program and utilize the feedback when given so to recognize the benefits of it so to be more equipped to enter a competitive job market. For the students who do utilize the program as intended, a MAICEI portfolio is provided at the end of the semester that includes assessments, specialized information for specific skills areas modified to the students learning strengths such as strategies and examples for practice for the students to continue to review for reference after the semester concludes. The students are also given a certificate of completion and potential job reference sources if they have met the growth expectations of the internship and the program.
Independence & Self-Determination
Campus amenities that students access include:
- Extensive Fitness Facilities
- Award-Winning Dining Services
- 5.9 million volume Library
- Hundreds of Clubs and Organizations
MAICEI students attend informal activities with Peer Mentors and friends such as sporting events, concerts, ballroom dancing, playing basketball and going to the Arts & Crafts Center. Campus groups such as The Boltwood Project hold regular events with MAICEI students.
Understanding the differences between high school and college for students with disabilities is essential to a smooth transition for all parties involved. The educational supports available to a student as well as the rights and responsibilities of the student, family and school can differ greatly between high school and college. The MAICEI program helps educate participants and their families on this topic so that all are well informed and understand their personal rights and responsibilities.
It is a priority of the MAICEI Program to facilitate self-determination for all its participants. Students are involved with all aspects of being enrolled in the program and are coached on making choices and judgments for themselves whenever possible.
Each semester, a new person-centered plan is developed for each students. Students are responsible for:
- Contributing to the creation of the plan
- Self-monitoring progress toward their goals
- Choosing and registering for courses with the Program Coordinator
- Selecting campus internships with the Employment Specialist
- Interacting with faculty and work supervisors when needs arise
- Actively engaging in campus activities
- Managing their personal schedules
In the areas where students are not yet able to employ full self-determination and responsibility, MAICEI staff, Educational Coaches and Peer Mentors assist with tasks.