First CNC Training Program in Minnesota for Young Adults with Autistm Celebrates Frist Graduates 

This past June, 11 young adults with autism started training at South Central College (SCC) to become entry-level computer numerical control (CNC) operators. Today, they celebrated their completion of the “Uniquely Abled Academy” with a special graduation ceremony.

The Uniquely Abled Academy was developed nationally by the The Uniquely Abled Project. The program is offered at SCC by the college’s Customized Workforce Education division and is the first Uniquely Abled Academy available in all of Minnesota. Uniquely Abled Academies are also currently offered in California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

SCC’s Customized Workforce Education division started the free 12-week program to help prepare young adults with autism for promising careers while helping to meet the workforce needs of area employers.

Having completed the Uniquely Abled Academy, the students also receive job placement support, including meeting with potential employers prior to today’s graduation event. In addition, two of the students have decided to continue their education at SCC. 

This summer’s Uniquely Abled Academy was free to participants thanks to an Innovation Grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. SCC hopes to receive additional financial support to continue the program at no cost to participants again next summer. While it costs approximately $10,000 per student to fund the program, organizers and supporters agree the benefits that come from it are well worth the investment.

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