Next Move @ W&M is a grant-funded, William & Mary-sponsored research project started in 2018 to support youth and young adults with developmental disabilities in our community. In partnership with the William & Mary School of Education, NextMove @ W&M creates on-campus, guided summer internship experiences for young adults with disabilities. We pair the on-campus internship experience with classroom-based transition skills instruction to create a thoughtful and interactive experience.
The mission of Next Move @ W&M is to combat the estimated 70% unemployment rate for young adults with diverse needs in the Commonwealth. Through vocational education and on-campus job training, we empower these individuals to achieve their goals and prepare them to find long-term sustained employment and fulfillment within their communities.
Next Move @ W&M selects up to six interns between the ages of 18-35 for each session. Sessions range from six to 12 weeks during the summer. Next Move programming takes place Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Half of the day is spent participating in job training and social skills instruction in our classroom at the William & Mary School of Education. The rest of the intern’s day is spent at their on-campus job placement. Upon completion of the internship program, interns receive a stipend of $500. In addition, the interns receive workplace training that can provide a competitive edge in their search for future employment.
The job training process is both thoughtful and supported. Our team works with campus departments and facilities to develop individual training positions for our students to learn important job skills. Our team has developed meaningful and lasting partnerships with William & Mary Dining, Libraries, Facilities Management, and various other departments around the campus community. Interns will spend at least two hours in their departments each day gaining important and transferable work skills. Our team of special educators also serves as their on-site vocational job coaches; we provide individualized supports, individualized accommodations, and individualized care.
While job training helps our graduates find employment, our instruction is what helps them maintain employment. Interns spend over half of their day in a classroom setting on-site at the William & Mary School of Education. Our team of special educators provide engaging direct instruction in work readiness skills, social skills, and life skills concepts that align with the Virginia Department of Education's standards for transition education.
Next Move @ W&M is funded through a grant from the Dean's Innovation Fund at the W&M School of Education.
Heartley Huber, Grant PI
Assistant Professor of Special Education