In this special presentation, Dan McManmon, President of the College Internship Program (CIP) discusses the value proposition CIP offers to college-age students with Autism.


 Hi, I'm Dave Gardy from WebAble TV from our studios here near Washington, D.C. for the special presentation of the College Internship Program. And with us via Skype from Massachusetts right now is Dan McManmon, who is the president of the College Internship Program. Dan, thanks for joining us.

Thanks for having me.

Now give us an overview. A little bit about the history. It's a fascinating program and also, what does the program entail?

Sure. So CIP, or College Internship Program, started over 35 years ago and it was founded as one of the first of its kind as an abilities based program. My father, Dr. Micheal McManmon is the founder and he's also diagnosed, late diagnosis on the autism spectrum. So kind of an interesting legacy we've had getting up to this point. But what we do, very specifically, is we provide comprehensive transition programs for young adults with autism and ADHD and other learning differences ages 18 to 26. And we have five locations in the US and when students join us, they are living semi-independently in a supported apartment living structure, they're attending local colleges, participating in internships and other opportunities to build those work force experiences, and then they're coming to our center for a comprehensive array of services to help them sort of figure out what specifically they want to do in their future and help them be successful in their ventures.

So, are there other programs like this in the country and if so, what distinguishes your program from those?

Sure. There's a growing number of programs now, I think, in the last few years especially. Historically there's been a big gap in these types of services. So they talk about the service cliff and after age 21 we've worked with hundreds of students each year and we've seen that demand certainly increase. So what distinguishes CIP as a different type of program is that we've always sort of tried to assemble an array of services that is best in class, following best practices but then also following very specifically some of our specialized curriculum that we've developed over many years to help students personally develop themselves. We talk a lot about the continuum of growth from, you know, a lot of individuals on the spectrum at this age don't really have a lot of self knowledge and self understanding, and they really haven't accepted themselves for who they are. So they come to us. In many times experiencing some anxiety, some depression, not really knowing their place in the world. Knowing that they're bright. They also have these deficits in many cases. So we're helping them move through that continuum. Down to being able to self advocate, self disclose, and really be self determined individuals.

Now you have, if I'm correct, six locations around the country. How do the parents make the decision, or, also, the student, make the decision on which of these to go based on their association with the affiliate college in that location? Help me out with that.

Sure. I think historically a lot of parents are driving the process, but the students obviously have to want to be here and agree to come here. They have to have a level of motivation. So when they're looking at a different type of programs such as CIP, they're really weighing out the academic opportunities, locally, so they're concurrently enrolling in a college, often, with reduced course work. They look at the opportunities for different workplace experiences that we might have. So, you know, in Florida for instance, we've partnered with Brevard Zoo, or Melbourne Public Library, for a very long time. So we've kind of been able to curate some settings, real life settings, where students are getting those real opportunities with partners and people who understand our students really well and help bridge that gap from, you know, taking these classroom concepts and moving them out into the community. Additionally, just whether a lot of families wanna be near something familiar. I think it's really hard for families to send their kid, their son or daughter, away far. But we provide a 24-7 on call service in a residential setting. So CIP has a staff ratio to student ratio of two to one which really makes families feel more comfortable about their student being here and having that level of care that they might have given their kid for, you know, the many years prior to selecting a program like this.

And it's both a two year and four year curriculum or is it structured like that?

So it's a minimum of one year. Often times students and families have very individualized goals whether it's to pick up from a failed college experience or to move into the world of work. Typically families are coming here committing to a year and on average, they're staying two to three years.

Okay. Now you've had a great historical success. What do you see happening in the future, some of the challenge you're facing that you're planning for now?

Yeah, that's a great question. There is a lot of change in the environment. There's historically a gigantic lack of funding around this. It use to be more just the awareness that these issues were happening. So as awareness has kicked up and there's even a lot more acceptance of this type of population within society, funding still remains as one of the biggest issues. So we've worked with the state of California and we have funding within California which is and provides opportunities for families. In many of the other states, we're located in Indiana, Florida, and Massachusetts, that level of funding is not as available. So I think that as the industry changes and the need is clearly there, what you're gonna see is there's gonna be an array of different types of services, so quality is hard to determine. You know, just based on there's no clearinghouse of information, there's not really any way that families can easily navigate without specialized help. So what we're trying to do is really own our position as being one of the most comprehensive and highest quality programs out there and we are looking at ourselves as those trailblazers that can take that information and bring it back to everyone else and really show what works when you're able to assemble this level of quality services and programs.

Excellent. So if people wanna find out more about College Internship Program, where should they go online?

Sure, will take you to all of our available programs and services.

Excellent. We've been speaking with Dan McManmon who is the president of CIP. Dan, thanks for joining us today.

Thanks so much.

I'm Dave Gardy from WebAble TV from our studios near Washington D.C. Thanks for joining us for this special presentation.

Posted on January 14, 2020

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