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College Collaboration Programs Result in Superior Innovation
Arc of Westchester believes that true innovation occurs through collaboration. Throughout the past few years, we have developed successful partnerships with numerous local colleges and universities, which have helped train the next generation of teachers and therapists, as well as created groundbreaking educational services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The colleges we are partnering with include:
Our preschool partners with several local colleges and universities to assist in training education and therapy students for work in their field. Our relationships have created an effective learning program that offers extensive hands-on training and guidance to these students. In return, the students provide fresh, innovative ideas that keep our preschool at the forefront of forefront of groundbreaking education.
Arc of Westchester and Mercy College have developed an extensive collaboration through the creation of a joint technology study to discover new ways to build independence and enhance social skills among young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Throughout this study, which began in 2014, graduate students studying occupational therapy use technology customized to each participant’s needs to achieve specific goals. Once an individual has accomplished their goal, students will then determine if these skills can be maintained though technology and without ongoing intervention.
Advanced Training for Direct Support Professionals
Arc of Westchester received a grant from the State University of New York (SUNY) that will increase the skills of direct support professionals (DSPs) throughout the agency. This awards Arc of Westchester the opportunity to train over 500 DSPs in advanced communication skills and professional behavior. This grant awarded Arc of Westchester the opportunity to receive curriculum development and staff training resources through the Westchester Community College Professional Development Center. These supervisors will now teach the agency’s 500+ DSPs, in support of the Office for Person’s with Disabilities (OPWDD’s) DSP competencies. The supervisors will now receive additional training to properly provide developmental feedback to DSPs and to continue to provide proper support for skill building.
A summer on-campus experience takes place for six weeks at Manhattanville College. Students live in dorms, take classes and participate in all aspects of college life with other students. We collaborate with the college by offering classes and activities designed to help individuals build social skills, experience life in the community, transition from school to work and build lasting friendships. Arc of Westchester's Recreation services also collaborates with SUNY Westchester Community College for a week-long theater workshop on their Valhalla campus. This theater arts program offers instruction in dance, singing, improvisation, speaking and acting while building confidence and self-esteem.
Touch Screen Technology
New technology is being implemented at eDocNY, Arc of Westchester's document management business, thanks to a grant from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities' (OPWDD) Balanced Incentive Program. Mercy College is assisting with the training of touch screen technology making the process of scanning documents user friendly for individuals with limited reading and fine motor skills. These new computer skills will open doors to employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
We have developed a partnership with SUNY Empire State College to assist employees and volunteers with continuing their education. The college is offering financial incentives for the 1st term and will apply credits for on the job training and experience that relates to area of study.