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Grant secures autism center curriculum
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ENDEAVOR

Grant secures autism center curriculum

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CareerSource Chipola has provided NextStep at Endeavor Academy with a $50,000 grant to obtain and use licensed curriculum that helps individuals with autism develop critical independent living skills.

The grant was announced in a press release from the county.

The money provided by CareerSource Chipola is part of a Rural Initiatives Grant of $206,250 from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“NextStep at Endeavor Academy will provide adults with autism independent living and career-readiness skills in a classroom setting and through community experiences,” the release states. “It is being launched by Jackson County Board of County Commissioners along with the Endeavor Forward, Inc., a nonprofit organization. NextStep at Endeavor Academy is part of the 1200-acre Endeavor Park mixed-use development at the site of the former Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.”

“The Learn4Independence curriculum, licensed by First Place AZ, is a 32-course curriculum developed for adults with autism that focuses on skills to promote independent living and employment. Unique curriculum elements accommodate various types of learning differences and incorporate universally designed instruction.”

The release goes on to say that the curriculum “covers a range of topics such as getting a job and navigating the workplace, overseeing personal finances, staying safe at home and in the community, handling friendships and family relationships, dealing with roommates, managing physical and mental health, resolving conflict and coping skills, and navigating transportation.”

“Jackson County is grateful for CareerSource Chipola’s funding to license this ground-breaking and proven curriculum, which will serve as a roadmap for our participants on their journey for employment and greater independence,” said Jackson County Administrator Wilanne Daniels in the release.

Jackson County received a $5.8 million Florida Job Growth Infrastructure Grant to revitalize the site into an employment center and has allocated $750,000 of that total for the NextStep at Endeavor Academy project.

CareerSource Chipola is part of the CareerSource Florida network. CareerSource Chipola is a private sector led organization working with partners to connect individuals with employers and improve the quality of the regional labor force.

First Place AZ, based in Phoenix, licensed the curriculum. Jackson County hired First Place AZ, a supportive housing property and consultant for adults with autism, Down’s syndrome, and other neurodiversities to provide guidance in launching the program.

Full launch for the new NextStep at Endeavor Academy is projected for the first half of 2022.

Future phases include residential living opportunities and community-wide engagement.

Interested program applicants, families, and employers should email info@jacksoncountyfl.gov or 850-482-9633. Future phases include residential living opportunities and community-wide engagement. Visit https://jacksoncountyfl.gov/autism-training for more.

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