National Disability Employment Awareness Month

For over 40 years, the Institute for Community Inclusion offers training, clinical, and employment services, conducts research, and provides assistance to organizations to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in school, work, and community activities.

We visited the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) to discuss our collaborative efforts, the current state of employment for the autism and neuro-diverse communities, and what we hope for the future, featuring: the former Dean of the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, Dr. William E. Kiernan, Special Assistant to the Provost, and Member of Autism Society’s Panel of Professionals, and Gyasi Burks-Abbott, Gopen Fellow at the Institute for Community Inclusion.


On April 4, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) and the Autism Society of America (ASA) signed a memorandum of understanding. This agreement laid out the framework for a multi-level collaboration between the two entities, touching on the areas of higher education, workforce development, and community supports and success in adulthood.
“We’re delighted to be working more closely with the Autism Society around inclusion of people with autism in these areas,” said Dr. Sheila Fesko, the associate dean of the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at UMass Boston, where the ICI is located. “We’re also grateful to ASA for helping to fund a graduate assistant position for one of our
students.” The joint fellowship began work this September.
“The partnership will be creative, tapping into the strengths of both our organizations,” said Cindy Thomas, the interim director of the ICI. “It will encompass everything from grant-writing to webinars and other online content.”
Kim Musheno, the vice president of public policy at Autism Society of America, said, “building this partnership with ICI feels natural because of their long history of advocacy for people with disabilities. As one example, their 2018 autism speaker series engaged self-advocates as experts to share their experiences around health care, education, and community life. That fits right in with Autism Society’s work, and both organizations will grow stronger through this collaboration.”

The Institute for Community Inclusion offers an extensive library of resources, which you can search through within their Project Directory, here are some direct links for employment:


Customized Employment Process:

  1. Career Exploration
  2. Employer Research
  3. Job Development Planning
  4. Employer Negotiation
  5. Post-Employment Supports

(L-R): Cindy Thomas, ICI; Sheila Fesko, SGISD; and Kim Musheno,

Autism Society of America