Transition of youth with disabilities, disability employment and career development, inclusive higher education, family engagement for youth with disabilities, workforce development and disabilities

Amy Dwyre D’Agati, Senior Faculty Specialist in the College of Education, University of Maryland College Park in the Center for Transition and Career Innovation. She has her MS in Rehabilitation Counseling/Supported Employment and Transition from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her BS in Communications Studies and German from Northwestern University. Amy has been working in the field of Transition and Career Development for people with disabilities for nearly 30 years, providing direct employment services to students and their families, partnering with businesses, training transition personnel, and researching and implementing best practices strategies in the field. She established and currently directs UMD’s TerpsEXCEED program, an inclusive postsecondary college experience for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who could not access college in a traditional manner. In addition, she has helped develop, support and research postsecondary education programs on college campuses for students with I/DD in Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Tennessee and other states. She is also a Technical Assistance Provider on the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT:C), a coalition of many universities across the country providing resources and TA to all US states and territories.

As a Technical Assistant on several federally funded research and demonstration projects, including the 5-year RSA funded Way2Work research project, she has acted as a liaison between all project partners, working to ensure fidelity of interventions and practices. Because of her strong background in business and career development, researching the benefits of employment to young adults with disabilities is a strong interest. In addition, developing and implementing college-based postsecondary education options for students with intellectual disability is another passion. A strong force that has guided Amy in this direction is her experience growing up with her younger brother Patrick, as he tackled college and a career with an intellectual disability. Watching his struggles and successes drives her to continue to work with students with disabilities as they transition into adulthood and all that it brings with it.

Books and Chapters

Luecking, R. & Dwyre D’Agati, A. (2019). Supporting Families to Support Work Experiences. In Luecking, R. The Way to Work: How to Facilitate Work Experiences for Youth in Transition (Second Edition) Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Luecking, R., & Dwyre D’Agati, A. (2017) Work and Employment for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In Brown, I., Percy, M., Weymeyer, M., Shogren, K.,& Fung, A.  A Comprehensive Guide to Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities. (Second edition) Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Dwyre, A., Grigal, M, & Fialka, J. (2009). Student and Family Perspectives. In M. Grigal and D. Hart (Eds). Think College: Postsecondary Education Options for Students with intellectual Disabilities (pp.189-227). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.


Monteleone, R., & Dwyre D’Agati, A. (2016). Business Connections, Community-Based Engagement, and Customized Service: The Add Us In Maryland 3-Point Model for Success. Office of Disability Employment Policy Grant # OD-22555-11-75-4-24.

Monteleone, R., & Dwyre D’Agati, A. (2016). Engaging Hispanic Youth with Disabilities in the Employment Process: A Model Demonstration Project in Montgomery County, Maryland.   Office of Disability Employment Policy Grant # OD-22555-11-75-4-24.

Dwyre, A., & Deschamps, A. (2013). Changing the Way We Do Business: A Job Development Case Study. Improving Staff Skills and Paid Job Outcomes for Students with Disabilities. Think College. Boston, MA:University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.

Grigal, M., Dwyre, A., Emmett, J., & Emmett, R. (2012). A Program Evaluation Tool for Dual Enrollment Transition Programs. Teaching Exceptional Children, 44, 36-45.

Grigal, M., & Dwyre, A. (2010). Employment Activities and Outcomes of College-Based Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities. Think College Insight Brief, Issue No. 3. Boston, MA: Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston.

Grigal, M., Dwyre, A., & Davis, H. (2006) Transition services for students aged 18-21 with intellectual disabilities in college and community settings: Models and implications of success. NCSET Information Brief, Vol. 5, Issue 5. Institute for Community Integration: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Director, TerpsEXCEED

NBC TerpsEXCEED News Clip

TerpsEXCEED is a 2-year certificate program at the University of Maryland College Park for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who would not be able to apply and attend UMCP through a traditional pathway. This is a nondegree program that culminates in a UMD certificate which includes a transcript of all students’ academic coursework (audit and P/F allowed) that is aligned with students’ career interests. In addition, students will participate in career development activities (work experiences, internships and paid jobs) as well as campus life activities (events, clubs, social groups, dorm activities).


Sponsored Research and Programs – Administered by ORA

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. $100,000 for 1 year (Jan-Dec 2021). Principal

            Investigator, Development and Implementation of the TerpsEXCEED pilot program, an

            inclusive postsecondary program for students with intellectual and developmental

            disabilities and autism on campus at College Park, where students enroll as typical

            freshman for a 2-year certificate, receiving support to live, work, study/attend courses,

            and engage fully in the University of Maryland campus and academic life.


Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. $50,000 for 1 year (2020-2021). Principal Investigator, establishing the Maryland Hub for Inclusive Higher Education as the statewide center for resources and technical assistance to Maryland Institutes of Higher Education, Local School Systems and families around the development, implementation and expansion of best practices in inclusive college-based programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. March 2020-March 2021.

Fabian, E., Leone, P. & Dwyre D’Agati, A. (2020) Main Street Connect. Main Street Connect is

            a non-  profit organization (501(c)(3) developing the first of its kind multi-purpose

            model--an affordable, accessible and inclusive apartment complex and community center

            for people with and without disabilities; partnering with UMD to develop a mixed

            methods research agenda to examine the impact of its new housing and community center

            on individuals, families, and the community.


UMASS-Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion, ThinkCollege National Coordinating Center

         Capacity Building Project. $25,000 for 6 months (2017). Principal Investigator,

         coordinating and implementing two statewide Capacity Building Institutes for strategic     

         planning around postsecondary options for students with ID/DD (Towson University and

        Chesapeake College). Convened the MD Inclusive Higher Education Collaborative, with

        representatives from state disability and education agencies. April-September.

Technical Assistance Specialist – Maryland Work Based Learning Collaborative/Way2Work Maryland: 5-year research grant with MD Vocational Rehabilitation and local LEAs to study work based learning interventions and employment outcomes for students with disabilities. Coordinate Technical Assistance (student recruitment and research implementation) across participating LEAs; Manage research fidelity and data collection in LEA implementation; Oversee communication between LEA sites; Conduct site trainings; Assist with product development.

Principal Investigator– Maryland Hub for Inclusive Higher Education for Students with ID, funded by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council: 1-year project to provide TA, develop a Community of Practice, and offer guidance to IHE’s and LSSs interested in developing, improving or expanding college-based postsecondary transition and adult options in Maryland.

Principal Investigator – ThinkCollege National Coordinating Center Strategic Capacity Building Project, UMASS-Boston: 6 month project for state strategic planning and capacity building for postsecondary options for students with ID/DD. Convened the MD Inclusive Higher Education Collaborative, with representatives from state disability and education agencies; planned and managed two full-day statewide Capacity Building Institutes (Towson University on August 10, 2018 and Chesapeake College on September 28, 2018).

CHSE200: College Success and Life PLanning, for TerpsEXCEED students, permission only