Andrew Wallace, age 20, is learning real-world skills for the future through the JobSpan program within The Day School at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh. This program helps young adults gain independence and confidence through work experiences, volunteerism, and by developing self-sufficiency in activities of daily living. With JobSpan, Andrew is making the transition from life as a student to life as an adult.
“JobSpan is an important program because it ensures young adults like Andrew aren’t forgotten," explains Greg Wallace, Andrew’s father. "The Children’s Institute recognizes his abilities and is teaching him skills that the world needs. The knowledge and training Andrew receives through JobSpan empower him to bring value wherever he goes.”
JobSpan is a program that provides students between the ages of 17-21 who have special needs the opportunity to build skills that connect them to their communities. Career development and workplace preparation, combined with exploring recreation and leisure opportunities, teach these young adults how to participate in their neighborhoods after graduation.
Andrew joined the JobSpan program in 2020 after completing 12th grade. He developed a variety of job skills by working in the school cafeteria, including cleaning, running the dishwasher, and helping with lunch carts, which he does with joy, often whistling and singing. A math lover and a people person, Andrew has excelled at The Day School store, where he enjoys taking orders from customers, making change, and managing credit card purchases via Square.
When asked if he likes working, Andrew replies with a strong “Yes,” and often says he wants to work in a restaurant after he graduates.
“The Children’s Institute is very goal-oriented, and they do a great job of communicating expectations and encouraging open discussion with families,” Greg describes. “They treat Andrew like an adult and give him the resources and encouragement to meet goals at his own pace.”
In addition to academic instruction and work experiences offered at The Day School, JobSpan also provides comprehensive training programs with community organizations who champion the value of work and volunteerism for individuals with different abilities. Targeted, evidence-based assessments focus on each student’s preferences, strengths, and potential. With guidance and oversight from JobSpan, Andrew has received community-based instruction as a volunteer at both Beverly’s Birthdays and Global Links.
“JobSpan is opening the doors to a brighter future for Andrew,” says Awdy Wallace, Andrew's mother. “He enjoys connecting with people through work, is becoming more verbal, and has gained the confidence to try new things. Andrew only sees the good in people, and he treats everyone with love and respect. I am so proud of the young man he is.”
Are you looking for resources to help prepare your amazing student for adult life after graduation? Visit our JobSpan page for more information about our special education transition services for young adults ages 17-21.
Not sure what the next step is? You can always call our Information Center at 412.420.2400 to speak to a team member who can direct you to the support and answers you need.