Pilot Program Serving Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Students


The purpose of the pilot program is to convene the two partnering colleges to research best practices and conduct a needs assessment to identify effective programming, wraparound services, outreach and marketing, assisted technology, benefits counseling and to identify community, state, and federal funding resources to facilitate credential attainment, increased employment opportunities, and improve overall engagement in college.

Partnering colleges will identify a team to conduct a preā€convening program profile (template provided by System Office), detailing existing programs and services for IDD students. Colleges will then participate in a convening and develop a needs assessment tool of programmatic best practices for providing vocational training for individuals with IDD.

Nancye Gaj

Nancye Gaj

Nancye Gaj, the IDD Special Project Coordinator, was selected for that position in August 2022. Prior to accepting that role, she served for four years as the Assistant State Director for Title II, College and Career Readiness. In that position, she managed a team of subject matter experts who provided monitoring and technical assistance to a network of federally and state funded community colleges and nonprofit organizations. She also liaised with state level workforce development agencies and was responsible for interpreting and implementing state and federal policy and regulations for local providers.

Before being promoted to the position of Assistant State Director, Nancye had served the CCR department as both Director of Professional Development and later as Director of Compliance and Monitoring. Prior to joining the System Office staff in 2011, Nancye founded and served as President of the national nonprofit literacy organization Motheread, Inc. which provided curriculum and training for school systems, community colleges, social service, and nonprofit educational agencies across the country and overseas.

Her innovation in developing programs and systems has been recognized on the state and national levels, culminating in her being awarded the National Humanities Medal. Although officially retired in late 2021, Nancye’s commitment to serving marginalized students led her to accept a leadership role with the IDD Special Project the following year.

Nancye holds an undergraduate degree in English from Duke university and a master’s degree in Reading Education from UNC-Greensboro. She has completed advanced coursework in adult education and serving students with developmental disabilities.

Vickie Vinson

Vickie Vinson

Vickie Vinson is the Adult Basic Education Coordinator at Catawba Valley Community College. She has been in her current role since July, 2015. Between 2010 – 2015, Mrs. Vinson served as a lead instructor for the compensatory education program at CVCC. During her first year as the coordinator, Mrs. Vinson transitioned the compensatory education program into a vocationally focused program known as the ABE Academy. In 2020, Mrs. Vinson served as the Professional Development Facilitator for the College and Career Readiness Department at CVCC. This past year, Mrs. Vinson was asked to serve on the leadership council for the NC Post-Secondary Education Alliance, as well take on a leadership role with the Professional Learning Communities established at CVCC, in addition to serving as the lead coordinator for the IDD Pilot Project.

Prior to her employment at CVCC, Mrs. Vinson was employed at the Alexander County Partnership for Children where she served as the Family Support Specialist and later on, the Childcare Resource and Referral Coordinator. She also has many years of experience in the medical field in both administrative and numerous clerical roles.

In 2019, Mrs. Vinson completed the CVCC Supervisor Leadership Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Appalachian State University.

Chad Cumber

Chad Cumber

Chad Cumber is a dedicated professional in the field of mental health, residing in Leland, NC, with his wife and two daughters. Born and raised in Wilmington, NC, Chad began his pursuit of higher education at Cape Fear Community College (CFCC), before he attended the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP), completing his Interdisciplinary Studies degree in 2020.

Chad's passion for mental health led him to a 16-year career in the field. For the past 11 years, he has been employed at Brunswick Community College (BCC), specifically at the Brunswick Interagency Program (BIP), where he was recently promoted to the position of Assistant Director in November of 2022. In this capacity, he also serves as the on-site director for the IDD Pilot Program for the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS).

Chad's greatest joy comes from making a difference in the lives of his students. Witnessing the fulfillment of their goals and the happiness on their faces is a constant source of motivation for him.

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