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Cherry Creek Innovation Campus to offer Uniquely Abled Academy

Uniquely Abled AcademyYoung adults with Level 1 autism will have the opportunity to learn valuable job skills and industry certifications in the high-demand field of advanced manufacturing by taking part in the Uniquely Abled Academy (UAA), which will be offered at the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus (CCIC) this summer. The program is funded through Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grants and is available at little to no cost to students. Those who successfully complete the program will be able to apply for good jobs in a variety of industries.

“Businesses are literally struggling to find people with these skills and certifications,” said Steve Day, principal of CCIC, which is a state-of-the-art college and career preparatory facility. CCIC offers classes in eight career pathways – Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Future Educator, Health and Wellness, Hospitality and Tourism, Infrastructure Engineering, IT and STEAM, and Transportation – to high school students in the Cherry Creek School District.

Learn more about CCIC’s Advanced Manufacturing Pathway here.

“Our primary charge is to provide these different pathways to our high school students,” Day said. “Our secondary charge is to provide additional workforce growth beyond our high school students.”

That’s why CCIC has partnered with UAA, an intensive career preparation program that provides young adults with Level 1 autism (high-functioning, low-support needs) job training and placement in careers that are relevant and provide income, dignity, and purpose, while filling a major need for employers, and easing parent concerns. The program aligns with CCSD's Core Value of Equity and the district's commitment to helping all students discover and pursue their pathway of purpose.

Learn more about Uniquely Abled Academy here.

“The more we learned (about UAA), the more we realized this is really a great opportunity for us,” Day added. “We have the equipment, we’re looking to extend our programs to populations beyond our current students, and this one is a great fit.”

CCIC’s first Uniquely Abled Academy will be held this summer. Students will attend classes Monday through Thursday for eight hours a day. Students will learn to program, set-up, and operate Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines. They will also learn shop mathematics, blueprint reading, and how to use quality control instruments. The program includes 300 hours of in-class instruction led by CCIC instructors, as well as 60 hours of job readiness training. The program culminates with students testing for their National Institute for Metalworking Skill (NIMS) certification. Successful graduates of the program will qualify for good paying, entry-level positions, including machine trainee, machinist apprentice, and CNC operator.

For more information and to apply, contact:

Darren Knowles,, 720-554-2628

Suzanne Styduhar,, 720-554-2657

Posted 4/5/2023.