120 Young Adults Benefit From Locally Funded Jobs Program

Did you know that Summit DD’s Summer Youth Work Experience and Career Exploration Program is just one of the many initiatives funded by local tax dollars provided by Summit County residents? Because of you, 120 young adults with developmental disabilities gained valuable work experience this summer!

For many years, Summit DD has funded and coordinated this essential program and it continues to grow each year. In 2022, the program impacted just over 50 students. This year, Summit DD more than doubled the initiative.

“These opportunities support students to be prepared upon graduation with their peers. Whether they’re headed to college or a career, we assist them and their families with becoming community-ready through the transition to adulthood,” shared Jacquie Owens, Summit DD Community Supports and Development Manager.

Each student had a skilled Direct Support Professional (DSP) on-site throughout the summer to help hone and develop their skills. DSP’s are absolutely essential to the success of these programs. Summit DD would like to thank Hattie Larlham, Weaver IndustriesTotal Education Solutions, and Resource Empowerment Center for making this program possible each day for the teens and young adults involved.

Summit DD Referral and Support Specialists (RSS), Service and Support Administrators (SSA), and Community Supports and Development staff also worked diligently to make sure the individuals were enjoying their work experiences while communicating essential information between the families, DSP’s, and employers.

The program begins with the Career Exploration component that enables students age 14 and 15 to participate in guided curriculum, informational interviews, and tours at employers and area colleges. The program was designed as an introduction to the world of employment and post-secondary opportunities. When asked to give feedback on the program, a parent of one of the students shared…

“He has enjoyed the career exploration program a great deal, especially the opportunity to visit so many different places. It has made for some interesting conversations each evening! It’s a wonderful program for people his age. He’s getting more and more excited about having the opportunity to do some part-time work soon.”

Once the students reach the age of 16, they can transition into Summer Youth Work Experience component of the program. They receive real-world job experience and a paycheck to begin learning how to manage their finances. Another parent reached out about the success of the program and shared…

“We couldn’t be more pleased with this program! Prior to this experience, she would get extreme anxiety over having to work. Now, she looks forward to her work day and has even offered to help at home. This is remarkable progress!”

Summit DD would like to thank the following employers, colleges and organizations that participated this year.

Summer Youth Work Experience
Myers Industries, City of Joy Church, Mud Run Golf Course, Good Park Golf Course, Holiday Inn Express, House of the Lord, Butcher and Sprout, Loyal Oaks Golf Course, Akron Zoo, Marcs, and Scouts.

Career Exploration
University of Akron,Rocco’s Pizza, Barns & Noble, Bounce Innovation Hub, Whole Latte Love, Fannie May, Summa Health Wellness Center, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Akron Fire Station #4, Munroe Falls Police Department, Summit Mall Scavenger Hunt, Charger Lanes Bowling Alley, Akron Art Museum, Akron Rubber Ducks Canal Park Stadium, Target, Home Depot, Aldi, Stan Hywet, Steller Automotive, WONE, and Western Reserve Hospital.

The program was greatly beneficial to all of these workplaces. Rebecca Delaney, the HR Manager at Myers Industries, helped coordinate the program in her workplace and her son also receives services from Summit DD. Rebecca shared…

“The Summer Youth Work Experience Program at Myers Industries was a huge success on so many levels and throughout our organization. The program was welcomed with open arms, the students were embraced, and many lives were changed, including many of our employees as well. Thank you Summit DD. I am so grateful for our continued partnership, that allows us to be pillars of light together, making it an even brighter day for others.”

Summit DD is a levy funded government organization that provides and coordinates essential services for more than 5,000 people with developmental disabilities throughout Summit County. Whether it’s early intervention services for a newborn child or retirement services for a senior citizen, Summit DD provides a lifetime of support for those eligible for our services. By voting for Issue 17 on November 7th you ensure these services for your neighbors, classmates, coworkers and friends with developmental disabilities.

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