Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University awarded $44,000 state grant to support Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative project


Troy Watkins

Westfield—Westfield State University has been awarded a state grant of nearly $44,000 to enhance its support of students with intellectual disabilities.

The University will receive a Quality Enhancement Project grant amendment of $43,983.08 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 “Thank you for your continued support of the MAICEI program on your campus and the students which it supports.”

Currently in its fifth year of operation, Westfield State’s MAICEI program will use the monies to fund three endeavors: the development of a comprehensive Educational Coach Institute training program, the enhancement of data collection tools to reflect the growth and success of the program, and the development of a Western Massachusetts Consortium to normalize procedures and resource allocations for program participants.

“We are excited to continue these initiatives and evaluate our partnerships and program to make improvements and provide area students with options 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 will 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 15 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.

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society.

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