The New England Center for Children®, also known as the NECC®, supports and trains autistic children and young adults. The educators help students learn key life skills they need to live more independent lives.
The amazing work NECC is doing at the same time supports staff in their careers in special education and behavior analysis through partnerships with Simmons University and Western New England University.
To find out more about what it’s like to work at NECC, we spoke to Harley Allen, a Level 2 teacher who has been with NECC for four years.
When Harley was in her senior year at college, she didn’t think she would ever become a teacher. She was asked to leave her school’s teaching lane and failed the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure Exam by one point. Unsure of where to go next, Harley was working to graduate her degree in integrated humanities with a minor in education.
Then one of her professors who believed she was a teacher encouraged her to apply to NECC and she landed an interview that changed her life. She was inspired by what she had 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 toughest team they have. Fortunately, they said, “Harley, let’s take it one step at a time.” I’m glad you did. “
NECC offers employees extensive training, education and resources to help them along the way.
Harley has accomplished many things in her four years at NECC. Her first role was as a case manager on a housing team called Parker Road that looked after male students aged 15-21. She then worked as a 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 License in Severe Special Ed. This degree is unique to the NECC and Simmons University collaboration and also includes an Autism Specialization. She is now pursuing a specialization in applied behavior analysis at Western New England University and is well on the way to becoming a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) in 2022.
Harley teaches at the NECC
When asked to describe in three words her previous NECC experience, Harley said it was “challenging”, “rewarding” and “supportive”. She went on to explain what makes the NECC experience different from other work experiences.
“NECC offers so many resources wherever you want to go. If you want to continue your education or can only work at night, NECC offers a position for it. If you’re really interested in this area, there are clinical specialists walking around day in and day out, ”she even told us that many of the PhD students who work at NECC have published articles and journals that are used in their courses. She explained that it was very special to see the respected clinicians she read about walking in the halls, many of whom have gone through the same programs at NECC.
Harley shared with us what she liked best about her experience at NECC.
“The support. On my journey at NECC, I only felt support from my supervisors and employees,” said Harley. Even in challenging times, Harley felt supported by their mentors every step of the way.
Harley considered her four years at NECC. “NECC gave me an opportunity; It was the open door that I needed. A lot of people in my past didn’t think I would make it as a licensed educator or be someone who chooses their BCBA, it’s insane! The person I was when I started is not who I am today, and that’s really because of NECC, ”she said.
When you work at NECC you will receive a support system, training and valuable hands-on experience. If you want to advance your education and improve the lives of students with autism, the NECC might be for you. Click here to learn more about NECC and its early career opportunities.