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Westfield State awarded $100,000 grant for Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative

Westfield State University has been awarded a state grant of nearly $100,000 to enhance its support of students with intellectual disabilities.

The University will receive a grant of $99,544.78 to support student participants in the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI), as announced by Dr. Carlos Santiago, Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education.

In the award letter to President Ramon S. Torrecilha, Ph.D., Commissioner Santiago wrote “Thanks to the leadership of institutions like yours, Massachusetts has distinguished itself as a national leader in creatic authentic inclusive learning opportunities for young adults with intellectual disabilities.”

Entering its seventh year of operation, Westfield State’s MAICEI program will use the monies to implement some recommendations from a recent evaluation while partnering with organizations such as Enchanted Circle Theater and Think College to provide its students with a top-notch experience through participation in the program.

“We are excited to continue these initiatives and increase our partnerships to provide area students with more options and support for inclusive postsecondary education,” said Westfield State Program Coordinator Lyndsey Nunes.

President Torrecilha lauds the program’s commitment to the values of the University. “The MAICEI program is a mission-centric initiative, which enables Westfield State to expand its inclusive community and support the personal development of all of its members,” he said. “Through this initiative we continue to diversify our student enrollment and make a college education a reality for more motivated individuals.”

About the MAICEI at Westfield State
The MAICEI provides dual-enrollment opportunities for students ages 18–21 that have intellectual disabilities and are still receiving special education services through their school districts. MAICEI students enroll in 100- and 200-level courses alongside traditional day students at Westfield State. Course choices generally reflect the MAICEI students’ long-term employment goals.

Westfield State is one of 14 MAICEI programs and partners with 11 area school districts: Agawam, Amherst, Chicopee, Hampden Wilbraham, Hampden Charter School of Science, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Southwick Tolland Granville Regional, Springfield, West Springfield, and Westfield.

The MAICEI program began at Westfield State in 2013 with five students and has grown to the second largest in the Commonwealth with 25 students enrolled in 2017–18. In addition to the Westfield State courses, students are offered seminars to target and refine their skills in the areas of academics, employment, social-emotional, and health and wellness. Students also participate in pIeCES (Positive Inclusion of Everyone Creates Educational Success), a student-run peer mentor group which allows MAICEI students to interact with other students on campus, providing opportunities to develop social-emotional skills during weeknight and weekend visits. 

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