Supported Employment Program Recognized

(12-17-98) -- The state branch of the nation's largest advocacy group for mentally retarded citizens has honored Boston College for its efforts to provide jobs on campus for developmentally disabled adults.

The Boston College Supported Employment Program, which for more than 10 years has given Boston-area mentally retarded adults work in dining halls and on campus grounds crews, was named winner of an Arc Massachusetts Distinguished Citizen Award at a recent ceremony in the Great Hall of the Statehouse.

Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella and Vice President for Human Resources Leo V. Sullivan accepted the award on behalf of Boston College, which was cited for "providing a model employment program for individuals with mental retardation."

The BC program was honored alongside 18 individuals by Arc Massachusetts, formerly known as the Massachusetts Association for Retarded Citizens, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and services for the developmentally disabled.

The Boston College Supported Employment Program currently serves 22 retarded adults who work 25-30 hours a week in dining halls, at the Bookstore and on groundskeeping crews, earning between $400 and $800 a month while gaining experience in a workplace environment.

The program is sponsored by the School of Education and the departments of Human Resources and Dining Services, as well as by the Campus School, a private day-school housed at SOE that serves pupils between the ages of 3 and 21 who have multiple disabilities.

Boston College has demonstrated a strong "spirit of inclusion" toward the handicapped by offering a job program for mentally retarded adults in addition to a school for multiply-handicapped children, said Campus School Principal Donald Ricciato.

"I think the University has shown a real commitment to providing opportunities for all people, even those with developmental disabilities," Ricciato said.

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