MDE School to open vocational academy this fall

·2 min read

Jul. 15—An east Cobb nonprofit school for special needs students is expanding its programs to include a vocational academy beginning this fall, according to a recent announcement.

MDE School, a K-12 private school off Johnson Ferry Road, says the vocational school will serve ages 16 and up. MDE recently expanded its campus space by 4,000 square feet to house the MDE Vocational Academy, which school officials say will provide job training and life skills to its pupils.

Program Director Mindy Elkan said she saw a hole that needed filling in job and life skills training for young adults with special needs. Without it, she said, most young adults with special needs could not find employment or live independently.

"These kids fall through the cracks of most postsecondary programs. Our mission is to help these students maximize their full potential. Depending on the student, that could look like taking on more responsibility for self-care and chores while living at home to living independently and holding down a job," Elkan said. "We will meet students where they are developmentally and help them reach their individual goals."

MDE Vocational Academy will provide its students hands-on training in various trades, and area businesses have also pledged financial and volunteer support, according to the school.

Macy's has given the MDE Vocational Academy $2,000 in grants and has agreed to let employees volunteer at the academy to assist its coaches in teaching retail job skills.

"Community is at the heart of Macy's," a company spokesman said. "We are honored to provide support to such an incredible organization, whose impactful work plays a vital role in strengthening and enriching our community."

MDE Vocational Academy is enrolling now for the fall 2021. For more information, visit

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