Next Steps Summer Program

Our summer initiative prepares high school students with
disabilities for the next phase of life.

Participants are paired with local job sites to master employability skills through paid work opportunities.

Students reside in a college dorm throughout the six-week program and gain valuable independent living skills including cooking, laundry, and time management..

Participant Outcomes:

  • Build an impressive resume and sharpen interview skills
  • Learn to perform in a professional work environment.
  • Manage everyday tasks independently
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Gavin W.

What advice would you give to others considering participating in the program?

You’ll make lots of friends and just have fun.

Biggest misconception about disability?

I think that people think I can’t do jobs like this, but I also think they’re wrong.

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Gavin C.

What did you do at your job?

Take care of elderly, play games with them, do crafts, chair exercises, deliver newspapers, do weather report everyday, and talk to them

What have you learned about employment during Next Steps Summer Program?

How to look for interview

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Grace G.

What have you learned about employment during Next Steps Summer Program?

I can do a lot more than I thought

Why did you want to participate in the Next Steps Summer Program?

Improve work skills

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Skye P.

What advice would you give to others considering participating in the program?

Have you gained confidence in your independent skills during this program?

Anxiety was reduced by learning my communications skills

What advice would you give to others considering participating in the program?

Improve work skills

No you’re not perfect you will make mistakes. And don’t beat yourself up about it if you do make a mistake

Skye also participated in our Youth Leadership Forum. Hear from her about that opportunity below.

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Paige M.

What are your plans after the program?

Get a job using the skills I have gained through the program

What is the biggest misconception about your disability?

That I am a slow thinker and that I don’t “seem autistic” to some people, which is very offensive

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Lisa at ProMedica. Because she has taught me so many things while working

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KWAPICH Real Estate Companies

Partnering with The Ability Center in their Next Steps Summer Program was a wonderful opportunity to work with and extremely intelligent and motivated young professional. I believe my staff and I were able to learn just as much working with Chris as he was able to learn from us.

Metroparks Toledo

We loved working with Jordan grace here at the Manor house. The experience with the job coach and Ability Center staff was very smooth and professional. We would definitely work with the Ability Center again on this program.

Sylvania Area Family Services

We thoroughly enjoyed our time with grace and her coach, Leah. Grace always came in with a positive attitude and ready to work. Leah was very professional and showed excellent teaching skills to Grace.

First Solar

Promedica

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium