Since 2011, The Nicholas Center has spearheaded inclusive initiatives, enabling people who think differently to get to work. Combatting an 85%+ unemployment rate, the vocational supports we've put in place have had an impact on hundreds of lives.
The Nicholas Center's (TNC's) exclusive partner agency relationship with Spectrum Designs Foundation has allowed for dozens of young adults to find meaningful employment in a supportive setting after high school. With a workforce that consists of 75% autistic or otherwise neurodiverse employees, Spectrum Designs, Spectrum Bakes, and Spectrum Suds have been outfitted to cater to the unique needs, as well as the unique strengths, of each individual who walks through their doors. Aside from competitive employment,
TNC offers meaningful volunteer-based vocational training opportunities onsite at these locations. Skills for these industries (screen printing/apparel decoration, culinary arts, and laundry) are practiced both on site at our Vocational Skills facilities, as well as within The Zoomiverse, our virtual learning and leisure platform.
At TNC’s community-based Vocational Skills centers, participants benefit from being exposed to, and gaining skills in, various work industries in a setting that enables growth, exploration and learning. Aside from skills for the Spectrum Enterprises, TNC focuses on things like professionalism, social skills, and money management as well as other skills, focusing on preferences, talents and dreams - not limitations.
Through a work readiness curriculum, students are engaged in structured and interactive classroom instruction that emphasize preferences, talents, and dreams—not limitations. In addition, various on-the-job experiences are available through our ever-evolving Navigators program, which serves the community through volunteering at various businesses and organizations.