August 24, 2022

A cornerstone of The New England Center for Children’s (NECC) mission, and one of its core values, is training and developing the next generation of autism educators and researchers. One of the ways in which NECC achieves this goal is through offering free on-site graduate programs through its partnerships with nationally accredited universities. This fall, Simmons will welcome NECC staff to its program for the 30th year.

NECC and Simmons University have collaborated to offer a graduate training to NECC employees since 1992. All courses are taught on-site at NECC in Southborough and provide staff practical training and experience, enabling them to have a wide variety of job offers in both public schools and private agencies upon completion of the program.

During the last 30 years, the Simmons program at NECC has grown to serve the organization’s many facets. In 2019, Simmons added the autism specialization to its degree to reflect the program’s autism-focused coursework and the graduate students’ field-based experiences using applied behavior analysis (ABA) with the autism population at NECC. Once students complete the autism specialization program, they have the option to continue with a post-master’s degree program in ABA through Western New England University, which is offered on site at NECC and at a discounted rate.

“We have a 100 percent placement rate with our graduates securing jobs either at NECC or with an outside organization,” said Chris Evans, professor of practice and the graduate program director for Simmons University at NECC. “The Simmons partnership with NECC is truly a tremendous opportunity for NECC employees to receive a $50,000 degree at no cost. It not only furthers their professional and academic experience but ensures they disseminate their knowledge when serving students with autism, whether it be locally or globally.”

In the fall of 2021, Simmons was approved to begin its first international cohort at the Mohamed bin Rashid Center for Special Education operated by The New England Center for Children (MRC-NECC) in Abu Dhabi, offering a master’s degree to their local teachers. This fall, Simmons has once again expanded its offerings to NECC employees, creating fully virtual master’s and post-master’s programs to serve staff who work for NECC’s partner program throughout the New England and other states NECC serves. 

Over the years, the Simmons program has graduated 1,232 NECC staff from the program, including 38 this past May.

Admissions for the 2022-23 academic year are rolling and fall semester classes start September 6. It’s not too late to register! To learn more about the program or to apply to begin your academic journey this fall, contact Heather Fortin ([email protected]) or Chris Evans (christ[email protected]). 

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