For students at The New England Center for Children (NECC), education goes far beyond the classroom. Starting at age 14, students begin vocational training. As part of this program, students work on activities across a variety of occupational areas, including clerical, food service, retail, custodial, customer service and assembly. While during more typical times students’ vocational education includes spending time at NECC’s Career Development Center (CDC), as well as working in various roles at businesses throughout the community, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the department to shift its programming.

Today, students work on vocational programming in their classrooms or residences, rather than attending the CDC or working in the community. While the setting for their work is different, the goals of the program remain the same. In addition to providing students with skills to be used in the workforce, vocational education also helps build confidence, foster a sense of identity and personal achievement, and increases opportunities for social interactions. This year, as part of students’ vocational education, NECC is selling student-made gift bags.

Gift bag assembly provides students with the opportunity to practice skills such as following directions, completing tasks to criterion, completing seated work, accepting and incorporating feedback and increasing duration of work. Each bag is marked by the student who created it and they are paid for each bag that is sold. For many, this is their first paid employment.

These bags are perfect for the upcoming holiday season and are made in different sizes (small, medium, medium-long, and large) with multiple patterns. Prices range from $1-$2 and $10 bundles (2 small, 2 medium, 1 medium long, 2 large) are also available.

For more information on purchasing gift bags, click here or email Julie LeBlanc (!

About The New England Center for Children

The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is an award-winning autism education center and research institute. Our community of teachers, researchers, and clinicians have transformed the lives of thousands of children with autism worldwide through education, research, and technology. The Center provides comprehensive services to maximize independence: home-based, day, and residential programs, partner classrooms in public school systems, consulting services, the ACE® ABA Software System (, teacher professional development, and research on educational best practices.

NECC is committed to staff professional development, partnering with local colleges to provide on-site graduate training and degrees at little to no cost to the NECC teacher. The result is a growing pool of exceptional teachers trained in best-in-class methodologies, whether they continue their careers at NECC or move on to public schools or private agencies. The New England Center for Children is based in Southborough, MA. Learn more at