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'Thanks For Thinking Ahead,' Molinaro Tells DCC Students

County Executive Marcus Molinaro joined the students and teacher of the "Think Ahead" program at DCC.
County Executive Marcus Molinaro joined the students and teacher of the "Think Ahead" program at DCC. Photo Credit: Dutchess County Government

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. - Dutchess Community College welcomed students Tuesday to the college's new "Think Ahead" program which offers those with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to develop job readiness and life skills while taking part in the college experience.

To help welcome the students, Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro joined Deputy Commissioner for Special Needs Toni-Marie Ciarfella and Dutchess Community College’s President, Dr. Pamela Edington, during a special event.

College officials held an orientation for the students, introducing them and their families to the “Think Ahead” instructor, Julia Quattrocchi, as well as familiarizing them with campus facilities, touring classrooms and taking part in FalconFest, the college’s annual fall semester kickoff celebration.

“"By providing these students with this opportunity to gain a valuable experience as a college student, DCC will give these individuals the necessary academic and social skills that can lead to success upon completion of this program," Molinaro said.

The program will use curriculum that focuses on specific job-readiness and life-skill training, allowing the students to develop the tools they need to hold a job, earn a paycheck and the responsibility that comes with it, he added.

Eight students are registered for the program, which will be completed in four semesters over two years. Upon successful completion, students will participate in graduation to receive a Certificate of Achievement. The curriculum is based on job-readiness training – a combination of professional, practical, interpersonal and social skills – and job experiences on the DCC campus will also be available to “Think Ahead” students.

The father of a daughter who lives on the autism spectrum, Molinaro established Dutchess County’s “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative in 2015 as a call to action to local individuals, businesses and organizations to foster a welcoming and supportive environment for those with special needs.

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