Andrew Wallace, age 21, learns real-world skills for the future through JobSpan at The Day School at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh.
This program helps young people gain independence and confidence through work and volunteerism, and by developing self-sufficiency in activities of daily living. With JobSpan, Andrew makes the transition from life as a student to life as an adult.
“Everyone has value,” explains Greg Wallace, Andrew’s father. “JobSpan is an important program because it ensures young adults like Andrew aren’t forgotten. The Children’s Institute recognizes his abilities, teaches him skills that the world needs, and empowers him to bring value wherever he goes.”
JobSpan helps students ages 17-21 who have autism, intellectual disabilities, and physical disabilities to build skills that connect them to their communities.
Career development and workplace preparation are combined with exploring recreation and leisure opportunities to prepare for a fulfilling life after graduation.
Andrew joined the JobSpan program in 2020 and he quickly developed a variety of job skills by working in The Children’s Institute cafeteria, including cleaning, running the dishwasher, and helping with lunch carts.
A math lover and a people person, Andrew excels at The Day School store, where he enjoys taking orders from customers, making change, and managing credit card purchases via Square.
“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 Children’s Institute, JobSpan also provides comprehensive training programs coordinated 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.
“JobSpan opened 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. I am so proud of the young man he is."