What is NextWork?
A Comprehensive Service for Adults with Autism, with A Focus on Employment to Support Independence as Our Primary Goal
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 increased independence. For more history about the NextWork program, visit our blog.
Research has always been at the heart of the NextWork program, and this data-driven approach continues through a mutually beneficial collaboration with the University of Utah. This collaboration began with NeuroVersity, a U of U program designed for youth with autism. NeuroVersity focused on visual-spatial abilities and used SketchUp to explore creativity and different careers in design. This partnership continues with Dr. John Davis from the Educational Psychology department, who provides graduate students with an opportunity to administer assessments and provide curriculum development and instruction for our students.
Additional collaboration is demonstrated by the multi-disciplinary AdHoc Committee formed to advise the NextWork program launch, by NextWork’s Pay for Success feasibility study with Cicero, and the composition of our business plan with support from the Sorenson Center. 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. Collaboration is key to elevating autism services in Utah and providing the diversity of support needed to serve the whole community.
NON-PROFIT & GOVERNMENT PARTNERS
- 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 and Development Disabilities
- Utah Developmental Disabilities Council
- Utah Neurodiverse Workforce Development
- Valley Mental Health (Adult Autism Center and Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning)
- Vocational Rehabilitation of Utah
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.
Todd Nate worked with this diverse population for 15 years. As a small business owner, Todd understands employers and their needs for reliable employees. This understanding assists him as he places clients in jobs that use their strengths. Todd also assists with diversity training for employers, helping these business partners increase the diversity and inclusion in their workforce.
Direct Support & Residential Specialist
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.
Direct Support & Employment Specialist
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.
3848 South West Temple Suite 107
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115
3848 South West Temple | Suite 107
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115