OMAHA — Nebraska Transition College has a new collaborative relationship with Autism Center of Nebraska in offering specialized skills-development courses for individuals with autism and other disabilities. Omaha classes will be offered at ACN’s location near 90th and Q streets in early October 2019.

Nebraska Transition College works to empower individuals with autism and other disabilities to learn, work and live within our communities.

“There’s a gap between high school and the next step and we want to help fill that gap,” said NTC Executive Director Dr. Stuart Stofferahn. “Our program is designed for high-functioning individuals who might not qualify for state services — or find themselves on a waiting list — but who need more help developing social, emotional and work-ready skills.”

The first two classes, “Soft Skills to Pay the Bills” and “Unlocking Your Best Self,” are the first steps in building a three-year, comprehensive curriculum, designed to enhance social, living and work-ready skills to land a job and be independent. The two classes, started in Lincoln, will now be offered in Omaha.

“As we looked to expand our initial class offerings to Omaha, it quickly became clear that ACN was a natural collaboration. They have been very welcoming, and we are excited about being there this fall,” said Stofferahn.

ACN President and CEO, Brett Samson said. “At ACN we believe that every person, regardless of ability, is valuable and deserves to be considered valued members of their community. Partnerships and collaboration are also very important to us. We are pleased to collaborate with NTC to help extend support to our similar visions in Omaha and across Nebraska.”

Stofferahn spent nearly five years developing the college — doing research and learning about starting a nonprofit, modeling the approach after existing programs in other states, finding highly qualified teachers, developing curriculum and finding a place to offer classes. Last fall, NTC offered its first classes through a collaboration with Southeast Community College.

A big part of implementing the curriculum centers around space needs.

“From the beginning, our vision has been to be integrated into our communities, wherever our classes are offered,” Stofferahn said. “We discovered that Nebraska is full of caring businesses that have classroom/gathering space available during the day and evening hours. What better way to get our students into the community and share our mission at the same time?”

When Stofferahn and Sampson met, it was obvious that a collaboration with ACN was in the very near future.

“It just made perfect sense,” Stofferahn said.

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