SUNY Oneonta has entered into an innovative partnership with Springbrook, a multiservice agency supporting people with developmental disabilities throughout Central New York.
Under the new program, announced Feb. 29, teaching assistants working in Springbrook’s school for children with autism will have the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in special education at SUNY Oneonta, tuition-free, within two years.
The collaborative venture is expected to attract high-caliber graduate students to the college and boost retention and recruitment at Springbrook, which recently completed a historic $22.5 million capital campaign that will support a programmatic expansion that includes the creation of more than 100 new jobs.
The first group of students will enroll in fall 2012. Most classes will be taught at Springbrook, and some will be offered online and on the SUNY Oneonta campus. Students will earn an M.S.E.D. in special education with a concentration in early childhood, childhood, or adolescence. Classes will be taught by faculty from SUNY Oneonta’s nationally accredited Division of Education, and the program will be administered through the college’s Office of Graduate Studies. Springbrook will reimburse students for their tuition upon completion of their degree.
“This is very exciting,” said SUNY Oneonta President Dr. Nancy Kleniewski. “We’re really trying to partner with the organizations and businesses in our community, because we see a nice fit between their needs and the programs we have to offer. This new partnership is a wonderful opportunity to use our resources to support the needs of one of Otsego County’s largest employers.”
In addition to supporting current employees in advancing their skills, Springbrook seeks to provide attractive job opportunities for people within and outside the area. “This kind of program will draw young people to our community for two years to get to know us, to be a part of it, and, hopefully, to stay,” said Springbrook Executive Director Patricia Kennedy.
A leader in providing innovative supports for people with developmental disabilities, Springbrook supports more than 750 individuals and families and employs nearly 1,000 people across Central New York. The agency offers educational, residential, therapeutic, habilitation and community supports that span all aspects of an individual’s life and is committed to offering advanced research and treatment options. Based on state Highway 28 just outside of Oneonta, Springbrook operates more than two dozen satellite facilities, including Kids Unlimited, the only preschool in Otsego County with an integrated program for both typical and disabled children.