From the beginning of an individual’s participation at Burton Center, it is known that the long term goal is for them to find employment. People with special needs are just that; people. Their needs and wants are the same as everyone. To set goals, work toward them, and achieve happiness in the knowledge that they are a productive member of their community.

This is why we develop individual support planning for each person. This begins with an initial assessment of an individual’s ability to comprehend and cope with a multitude of skills and social situations we all deal with in everyday life.

Once this assessment is complete, we work on the individuals’ strong points and deficiencies to bolster their skill set to highest level, while at the same time finding out what their desires are for a career.

To develop work skills, we use the various level jobs provided by our partners in our workshop, to expose them to a variety of tasks and working conditions. They proceed from level to level until they virtually work unassisted. At this point they are ready to enter the at large workforce. Initially they are accompanied by a job coach from Burton Center, but usually within a few days are able to work under their employer’s supervision. We are repeatedly told that our Burton Center graduates are some of their best employees.

Just as importantly their social skills are simultaneously heightened by classes explaining proper dress, manners, and personal hygiene. We also use field trips such as shopping, eating out, and going to the movies to further enhance social skills.

We are very proud to be one of the most proactive programs in existence in developing this type of employment format. Our goal is to enhance people’s lives to the fullest. People in the community get a chance to realize just how special, people with special needs are in all our lives.