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Marianna, FL: Autism support academy opens; "need for autism training is significant"

August 7, 2021, Jackson County Floridan: Workers, students sought for NextStep autism academy in Marianna https://dothaneagle.com/community/jcfloridan/news/local/workers-students-sought-for-nextstep-autism-academy-in-marianna/article_13aca4fa-f60d-11eb-84c7-5fbb1f1a53bc.html

The search for employees to man the new autism transition center at Endeavor in Jackson County has begun, along with the continuing search for businesses that want to partner with the program to eventually hire graduates of it. NextStep at Endeavor Academy is being launched soon by Jackson County. Endeavor Forward, Inc., is a not-for-profit which supports the development and operations of the autism transition, vocational and residential program…. Plans for the new autism transition program classroom space and vocational training center have been completed and competitive bids for the renovation are being sought. Jackson County hired First Place AZ, a supportive housing property and consultant for adults with autism, Down Syndrome and other neurodiversities to provide guidance in launching the autism program…. The need for autism training is significant, officials said. The incidence of autism today is 1 in 54 compared with 1 in 2,500 some 20 years ago. Approximately 60,000 kids with autism in the United States transition to adulthood each year…. In June of 2020, Jackson County received a $5.8 million Florida Job Growth Infrastructure Grant to revitalize the site into an employment center. Jackson County is allocating $750,000 for the NextStep at Endeavor Academy. “We are on our way to fulfilling our big vision and building a supportive autism-friendly community in Jackson County,” said Jackson County Commissioner Clint Pate.