October is Disability Employment Awareness Month


The Todd Fournier Center for Employment Training and Community Inclusion is an integral part of the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Randolph. It is a highly specialized program that serves older students (ages 14 to 22) who are ready for a more intensive vocational training experience. 

The curriculum at the center addresses two of the most critical aspects of adult independence – the ability to engage in meaningful employment and function as successfully as possible in day-to-day life in the community.  

Students perform a variety of tasks while on the job, such as data entry, shredding, food preparation, and delivery, store inventory, shelf stocking, and janitorial and laundry service. The real-world community integration provided by organizations like Old Colony YMCA and others gives May students the chance to hone their professional job routines and practice important life skills. Experiencing new environments beyond their residential and classroom settings encourages them to broaden their horizons and helps identify the kind of work that makes them happy. 

Ellen Greene, Vice President, Stoughton Branch, Old Colony YMCA recently said, “We are so pleased to be able to partner with May Institute to provide inclusive, community-based work opportunities for the students in their care. The Y is and always has been about strengthening individuals and the communities we serve. Every day, we help people connect to their purpose, potential, and to each other. I believe our core values are very much in-line with the vocational training program May has created and I just love meeting the students.” 

Training begins in the specially equipped spaces at the Fournier Center. A general store, Todd’s Café, and a hotel suite introduce students to real-life work environments where they can begin to learn, practice, and perfect transferable vocational and life skills that can then be applied to work positions.  

A recent grant provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton will provide a renovation of the general store. Student opportunities at the store go beyond vocational training and include opportunities for all students to shop, make purchases, and practice communication skills that will help them in everyday life. When the hard work is done, these opportunities give them a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.