College Search

Marino Campus

Marino Campus
Marino Campus and Florida International University
Marino Campus
400 North Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Program Contact Susan Morantes
Phone 954-530-5511

An extensive search of nationwide postsecondary programs by the Dan Marino Foundation staff found very limited options for students with developmental disabilities. To address this issue, in 2013, the Foundation created Marino Campus, a 10-month industry certification program for teens and young adults with autism, other developmental disabilities, cognitive delays, or physical impairments in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Class instruction combined with real-world work experience prepare students to obtain industry-leading certifications in Computer Technology and Hospitality, industries which serve as strong employment bases for our client population. To greater serve the South Florida community, the Foundation opened a second Campus in 2016 at Florida International University in Miami. Coursework and hands-on curriculum prepare individuals for national certifications in Computer Technology from Microsoft and CompTIA and Hospitality certifications from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute. Other courses offered include sales and marketing, employability and social strategies, financial literacy, and independent living. In addition to the coursework, participants intern with at least two businesses, providing on-the-job experience in their chosen fields. Six months of intensive career services support is provided after the coursework is completed.  Supports include access to behavior specialists, peer and academic mentors, and tutors. Job coaches assist in career placement and coaching and a certified benefits counselor is on staff. Initial assessments determine a student’s individual learning style (e.g. visual, auditory, or kinesthetic), and the standard curriculum is adapted to capitalize on students’ strengths. Embedded throughout the program is the use of technology. The Foundation, in partnership with the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, developed the Virtual Interactive Training Agent (ViTA), a first-of-its-kind program addressing a major barrier to employment - the job interview. ViTA is utilized as part of the employability skills training to build interview competency and reduce anxiety. It immerses participants in an environment where they are able to practice job interviews in a variety of situations and apply the complex social skills necessary to gain meaningful employment. Participants practice interviewing in a safe, less stressful, virtual environment allowing for learning based on natural strengths. This leads to confidence and performance in actual interview settings, with the overall goal of empowering students to gain employment, and most importantly, independence. In 2015,, along with a panel of external advisors, selected the Foundation as a recipient of the Google Impact Challenge Grant. This award funded the development of features for ViTA that enrich the user experience, including gamification and open source capabilities. ViTA software is utilized by Miami-Dade and Broward County Public Schools and over 50 organizations nationwide.

Public or private: Private
Type of school:

A campus for postsecondary education and training, not an accredited institute of higher education

Is this program a federally funded TPSID program? No
Students in this program: Have graduated or exited from high school
Number of students: 67
Description of our summer transition program: Instruction on the benefits of competitive integrated employment in the local labor market. Included information on accessing services that assist in job exploration, for example, Vocational Rehabilitation, Social Security Administration, and local community resources. Instruction that prepared the participants to actively engage in job searches. Included preparing an effective résumé and completing applications online and by hand. Participants created and saved a résumé on the flash drive provided at the beginning of the program. Explored use of social media in seeking employment and practiced job interviewing both face-to-face with instructors and avatars utilizing ViTA (Virtual Interactive Training Agent). Community-based experiences focused on soft skills needed to maintain employment. Trips included job exploration at the Broward County Library, TD Bank, Centennial Bank, and Rocco’s Tacos using public transportation. Instruction in self-determination skills. Practical hands-on training included developing rapport with coworkers and friends, active listening, and conflict resolution. In Etiquette class, participants learned about personal appearance, verbal and nonverbal communication, and workplace and dining etiquette. Other topics explored included disability history, self-disclosure, ADA rights, and transportation options.
Deadline to apply to this program: August
Requirements for admission to this program:
  • Other diploma (e.g., IEP diploma, certificate of attendance)
  • 18-28
Accepts out-of-state students: Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Developmental Disabilities, LD
Program length: 1 year
Tuition amount: $16,000.00
Program specific fees: $145.00
Is this program able to provide federal financial aid as a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)? No
Students pay for the program in the following ways:
  • Private pay (student and family)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Funds
  • Scholarships
Scholarships available:

DMF is a Vocational Rehabilitation provider.

Students take these types of "typical" courses (with students who don't have disabilities): Students do not take typical college courses
Students take courses that are only for students in this program: Yes
Information on special classes:

Industry Certifications in Hospitality and Computer Technology
Social Skills courses
Financial Literacy
Computer Safety courses
Employability Skill training

Classroom/academic time spent only with other students in this program: All of the time
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: If they pass Industry Certifications through Microsoft, CompTIA, and the American Hotel and Lodging Assoc.
The credential(s) is/are: Just for students in this program
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 65%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 65%
We offer the following specialized credentials:

Computer Technology - Microsoft Office Specialist/A+
Hospitality - American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute - Customer Gold Service/Guestroom Attendent/Restaurant Service/Front Desk Clerk

Housing is provided to students: No
Students participate in student organizations on campus: No
Proportion of time spent only with other students in this program: Between half and 75% of the time
Students have participated in these social/extracurricular activities and organizations:

Clubs are offered on both campuses and cultural outings are provided. On the FIU campus, students attend some of FIU's activities, e.g., football games, drama presentation, etc.

Last updated: Monday, February 11, 2019 - 11:54