Written by Julie Grilli  |  24. March 2011

The Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) recently partnered with St John's University and 17 senior business students in a hands-on intern program called the Executive-in- Residence-Program (EIRP). The program offers students the opportunity to work with top executives at DDI, a leading service provider for children and adults with autism on Long Island. While business students get a practical education, DDI and the individuals served by DDI got the benefit of fresh and innovative ideas. Since 1977, EIRP, based at the Tobin College of Business, has been giving undergraduate and graduate students the chance to hone their strategic and creative business skills. The program selects top students within the College to participate in two challenging projects each semester, where they learn to approach business from a top management mind-set. Students develop leadership, critical thinking and analytical skills by working face-to-face with executives from New York area businesses and not-for-profit organizations; they learn how to think, manage and face real-life strategic challenges. "It was a pleasure to work with the bright students of St. John's University," stated Kim Kubasek, Associate Executive Director. "They brought many fresh and innovative ideas that we will use to enhance the services we over 5,000 individuals we serve throughout the year." According to Larry W. Boone, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Management and Director of EIRP, its mission is to present students with the opportunity to develop real-world business skills, which will prepare them to be effective leaders through hands-on experiences. "Our St. John's students enjoy meaningful opportunities to develop their academic skills, but, more importantly, they developed experience in the not-for-profit sector. Hopefully, this hands-on experience will lead them to consider careers or volunteer positions in the many not-for-profits that provide so much valuable service within our society," says Dr. Boone. DDI is a not-for-profit agency headquartered in Smithtown, NY, with more than 30 locations throughout Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Serving nearly 1,000 children and adults with a diagnosis of an autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), DDI is the largest provider of services for individuals with Autism on Long Island. It provides educational, vocational, and residential programs, as well as medical and dental services for over 5,000 children and adults with autism or other developmental disabilities. DDI also operates family-centered preschool programs for both children with disabilities as well as typically developing students. DDI was founded in 1961 by a group of parents to address the special educational and therapeutic needs of their children with autism or other developmental disabilities. DDI is a member agency of the United Way of Long Island. For more information about DDI, visit www.ddiinfo.org.

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