FAIRMONT — Hoping to educate more professionals across the state, Pierpont Community and Technical College has teamed up with the West Virginia Autism Training Center to provide online training support for an autism mentor program.
The two entities signed the agreement Monday afternoon, providing support for a program that is much needed throughout the state, according to Andrew Nelson, director of direct services with the West Virginia Autism Training Center.
“For several years, probably close to two decades, the autism training center has provided autism mentor training,” Nelson said. “It’s an intensive training for professionals and aides in the state of West Virginia who are seeking certification to become an autism mentor.
“What that means is they’ve received special training to be highly effective folks in classrooms with students with autism around the state.”
Nelson said this is the first time that the course has been online, and that, hopefully, easier access to the program means more engagement from professionals in more rural parts of the state. He also thanked Pierpont officials for their support in the partnership.
“This is extremely exciting,” Nelson said. “This is what it’s all about, as far as how communities develop and grow together. They’ve been a pleasure to work with, and they’ve got the infrastructure ready to go. We had the content. It was a match made in heaven for us to partner together, and we look forward to seeing where this goes in the future.”
Kimberly Cale, the director of operations for Pierpont’s Continuing Education Department, agreed, and said that the partnership is vital providing a much needed service to the community at large.
“We needed to increase accessibility throughout the state for those professionals who are dealing with the autistic population to help give them the tools and resources that they need to be able to help in the classroom,” Cale said.
“Partnerships are vital, because they help us to access more students and they give us a better platform,” Cale said. “They’re bringing their curriculum to our platform, so we’re sharing resources and delivering that information to the best of our ability.”
Nelson encouraged anyone interested in the program to register for the online classes, which begin on June 3.
“We have many students with autism in every county that need highly qualified professionals to support them throughout their day,” Nelson said. “We know there are some out there that can’t access the training as it stands now, so we really hope that this online platform increases that opportunity so every school has the chance to provide that support for their students.”
To register or for more information, visit www.pierpont.edu/ce or call Kimberly Cale at 304-534-7887.
Fairmont News Editor John Mark Shaver can be reached at 304-844-8485 or email@example.com.