Hudson Valley Launches Uniquely Abled Academy to Train Students with Autism for CNC Careers; Open House May 2

April 29, 2024

Student working in machine shop

Hudson Valley Community college recently became one of the first 16 colleges in the country, and the first in New York State, to host an innovative Uniquely Abled Academy, a division of the Uniquely Abled Project. This first-of-its-kind program is designed to train, support, and provide job placement services for individuals on the autism spectrum, with current programming to prepare students for jobs as CNC operators in advanced manufacturing fields.

An Open House will be held Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. on the college’s Troy campus to introduce community members and prospective students to the program; those interested in attending are asked to RSVP at

The Uniquely Abled Academy at Hudson Valley welcomed its first cohort of students in the spring of 2024 for a successful pilot program. It is now expanding its program offerings, with courses planned for the Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 semesters, as well as a summer 2024 bootcamp that will run Monday-Thursday, July 8-18, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on campus in Troy. Internship opportunities with local businesses, which may lead to full-time employment, are being planned for summer 2025.

The Uniquely Abled Academy’s CNC program at Hudson Valley includes credit-bearing in-class instruction, where students learn basic CNC programming, setup, and operations, and use quality control instruments. Instruction is also provided in safety and metrology, shop mathematics, blueprint reading, and other technical areas.

In addition to the technical skills taught as part of the Academy, students receive non-credit-bearing job-readiness training, including resume creation, participation in mock interviews, and soft skills training. They complete the program with a finished resume in hand and job interviews scheduled, and are able to keep the items they make during their time in the program.

Students who complete the program are awarded a certificate of completion from the college, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety Certificate, a Tooling U-SME Training Program Certificate (or equivalent), and a National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) credentials.

Graduates are qualified for jobs as CNC operators and entry-level programmers, machinist apprentices, and machine trainees, among other titles and positions. They are also supported throughout the program by Hudson Valley’s Center for Access and Assistive Technology, which offers comprehensive support services for more than 600 students with disabilities studying at the college each year.

“Hudson Valley is proud to be one of the first colleges in the country to host a Uniquely Abled Academy program on our campus,” said Hudson Valley Community College President Dr. Roger Ramsammy. “An important part of our mission is to increase educational and workforce training access for all members of our community, including those in underserved communities, and this program is a perfect example of the type of specialized options we can offer to meet the unique needs of the students we serve.”

To enroll, students must have graduated high school or received their GED; be 18 years old by the end of the program; demonstrate basic algebra and English skills; and be comfortable working with machinery in an industrial environment. Applications are available through the college’s Center for Access and Assistive Technology. Accepted students may be eligible for funding to offset or eliminate the cost of attendance for themselves and their families.

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