What is NextWork

What is NextWork?

A Comprehensive Service for Adults with Autism, with A Focus on Employment to Support Independence as Our Primary Goal

Our Mission:

We aim to support well-rounded and thoughtful neurodiverse people by offering tools to cope with a changing post-modern and globalized world, and providing opportunities for integrated and competitive employment, building community, and increasing independence. We encourage our participants to challenge their limits, not limit their challenges.

NextWork is the newest program of Columbus Community Center, a full-service provider for people with disabilities that has been serving people of Utah or more than 50 years. NextWork extends the supports that have always been a trademark of Columbus to the adult autism community and the unique strengths and challenges they face. We focus on client strengths and build opportunities for success and NextWork program. This began with the multi-disciplinary AdHoc Committee formed to advise the NextWork program launch, with NextWork’s Pay for Success feasibility study with Cicero, and the composition of our business plan with support from the Sorenson Center. 

Collaboration has always been at the heart of the NextWork staff contribute to the Utah Autism Initiative, and continue to collaborate with First Place, AZ as a licensee of their Learn4Independence™ curriculum. Our most recent collaborative efforts are with Madison House’s Autism After 21 project. In the near future, we will also involve the AdHoc Committee in program evaluation to see how effective NextWork has been in its formative years. Our residents are chosen by a sub-committee chosen to help select residents who will benefit most from the training apartments and are determined to be ready for this step into independence. Collaboration is key to elevating autism services in Utah and providing the diversity of support needed to serve the whole community.


  • Autism Council of Utah
  • Disability In
  • Department of Workforce Services
  • First Place, AZ
  • Living With Autism
  • Madison House
  • Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism
  • Optimizing Autism
  • Scenic View Academy
  • STEM Action Center
  • University of Utah
  • Utah Autism Registry
  • Utah Developmental Disabilities Council
  • Utah Neurodiverse Workforce Development
  • Valley Mental Health
  • Vocational Rehabilitation of Utah
Amy Wadsworth-Director NextWork Academy

Program Director

Amy Wadsworth received her Master’s Degree in Human Development and Social Policy
with a Disability Studies Certificate. Following graduation, she was hired by Columbus Community Center as a researcher. Later, she became the NextWork Program Director. Amy has done a bit of everything as the program has grown, from placing clients in jobs and supporting them as a job coach, to designing curriculum and teaching yoga.

TAYLOR WALTERS Direct Support & Residential Specialist

Life Skills Coach & Residential Lead

Taylor Walters graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Consumer Studies. He provides mentorship and direct support for the individuals participating in our academy, particularly those who live at the Hub. As an autist, Taylor is able to bring insight to the team and to the clients.

Andrew Wood

Job Development & Employment Specialist

Andrew Wood has worked with people with disabilities for 35 years and retired from teaching in 2023. Andrew was hired as the employment specialist for Nextwork, Columbus Community Center in September of 2023. He is excited to be working for an organization that has helped so many people and has evolved to meet the needs of people with disabilities. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors.

Erykah Marks

Academy Lead

Erykah Marks provides direct support for NextWork participants, particularly those who are looking for a job, or those who are working and need coaching on the job. Erykah also provides a lot of support for our residential clients, particularly in their social activities and supported living.

Jody Mulligan

Lead Instructor

I am originally from Iowa and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education and a minor in physical education from the University of Northern Iowa. 

I have a 14-year-old daughter who loves playing soccer and photography.  Our family loves being outdoors and we spend many weekends camping with our dogs.

I have been teaching for the past twenty-three years.  I enjoy researching and learning new things right along with the students.  Helping people learn and problem-solve is a passion. 

I believe Nextwork is a place where our clients can learn and grow.  Everyone has an ultimate goal to prepare each individual to manage the stresses of life, be part of a community, and gain the tools to be independent.  I am thrilled to be a guide on each client’s adventure. 

Life Skills Coach

My name is Saje Smith. I am a Life Coach for NextWork Academy. I have worked in many different industries including Education, Operations Management, Food/Beverage Service, and Customer Service. My passion is Teaching!! I love working with people and learning how and why we are the way we are. From emotions, behavior and communication to different abilities, learning styles, and values to job exploration, creativity and art, I have a found a passion in everything that makes humans tick and finding ways to improve life.


Contact Us


3848 South West Temple Suite 107

Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115

3848 South West Temple | Suite 107

Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115