The New England Center for Children® also referred to as NECC®, supports and educates children and young adults with autism. The educators help students learn important life skills that they need to lead more independent lives.
The amazing work that NECC does simultaneously supports the staff as they navigate careers in special education and behavior analysis, through partnerships with Simmons University and Western New England University.
To learn more about what it’s like to work at NECC, we spoke with Harley Allen, a Level 2 Teacher who has been with NECC for four years.
When Harley was in her final year of undergrad, she didn’t think she would ever become a teacher. She was told to leave her school’s teaching track and had failed the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure Exam by one point. Unsure of where to go next, Harley worked towards finishing her Integrated Liberal Arts degree with a minor in Education.
Then, one of her professors who believed she was meant to be a teacher, encouraged her to apply to NECC and she landed an interview that changed her life. She was inspired by what she learned and was eager to tackle any challenge that came her way after her first interview with NECC.
“I interviewed at NECC and immediately loved it. I asked them to put me on the hardest team they’ve got. Fortunately, they said, ‘Harley, let’s take it one step at a time.’ Which I’m glad they did.”
NECC gives employees extensive training, opportunities to further their education, and plenty of resources to help them along the way.
In her four years at NECC Harley has accomplished many things. Her first role was a case manager on a residential team called Parker Road, which served male students from ages 15-21. She then served as case manager for two different students and enrolled in NECC’s Simmons program. In 2020, she graduated from Simmons University with a Master of Science of Education and licensure in Severe Special Ed. Unique to the NECC and Simmons University collaboration, this degree also comes with an Autism Specialization. Now she is pursuing a Specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis at Western New England University and is on track to become a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) in 2022.
When asked to describe her NECC experience so far in three words, Harley said it was “challenging” “rewarding” and “supportive”. She went on to explain what makes the NECC experience stand out from other work experiences.
“There are so many resources that NECC provides, no matter where you want to go. If you want to continue your education, or you can only work nights, NECC offers a position for that. If you’re really interested in this field, there are clinical specialists walking around day in and day out,” she even told us, that many of the doctorate level clinicians that work at NECC have published articles and journals that are used in her courses. She explained that there’s something really special about seeing the esteemed clinicians she reads about walking in the halls, many of whom have gone through the same programs at NECC.
Harley shared with us what she likes the most about her experience at NECC.
“The support. In my journey at NECC I have felt nothing but support from my supervisors and coworkers,” said Harley. Even in challenging times Harley felt supported every step of the way by her mentors.
Harley reflected on her four years working at NECC. “NECC provided me with an opportunity; it was the open door I needed. A lot of people in my past didn’t think I’d make it as a licensed educator or be someone going for her BCBA, it’s crazy! The person I was when I started is not the person I am today, and that truly is because of NECC,” she said.
When you work at NECC you gain a support system, an education, and invaluable hands-on experience. If you would like to further your education and make a difference in the lives of students with autism, NECC may just be the right fit. Click here to learn more about NECC and its early-career opportunities.