EMBARK Program

For 18-22 year olds with learning delays & intellectual disabilities who desire to continue their education.


Program Overview


NEC offers three unique programs for secondary and post-secondary students through age 22 with moderate intellectual, mental health, and learning disabilities.

Program Description

EMBARK serves post-secondary young adults age 18 to 22 with learning delays and/or intellectual disabilities who have a desire to continue their education beyond high school. The goals of EMBARK are to enable young adults to be independent in living and traveling in the community, while assisting them in career development and internships or employment in local businesses and organizations.

EMBARK students are motivated to develop vocational goals and have committed to working 20 hours per week. Eligible students have a documented disability and are eligible to apply for services from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. Each student agrees that work, using public transportation and independent living are primary goals they will strive to attain. Some students may have earned a high school diploma, but this is not a prerequisite for admission to the program.

Located at the Enterprise Center at Salem State University in Salem, MA, the students use the college campus resources to enhance their academic, vocational and physical education.

College resources include:

  • Library

  • Bookstore

  • Wellness Center

  • Theater

  • Student Center

  • Food Court

Program Components

The EMBARK experience has two major components; independent life and occupational development. The components are integrated and together contribute to the successful transition of each student from home and school to independent life.

Independent Life

This component focuses on the skills necessary to transition to an independent life. The following skills are the core of EMBARKs curriculum and include:

  • Using resources within the community;

  •  Public transportation training

  • Consumer skills

  • Social skill training and application

  • Leisure options

  • Community Trips

  • Oral & written communication; computer literacy

  • Current events and issues

  • Health issues & issues pertaining to adult sexuality

  • Independent Living Orientation Program (Residing in SSU dorms for one week with support) *additional fee from family

Occupational Development

This component includes foundation skills, vocational/career preparation, and placement, occupational assessment and advisement; internship opportunities.

Students must attend EMBARK for a minimum of two years, up to a maximum of four years. The program sequence is individualized and includes the following:

  • Vocational assessment

  • Internship and/or job placement

  • Independent or supporting living preparation

  • Transition related issues

  • Maintaining employment




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