Pathways to Employment

Pathways to Employment is a unique, comprehensive program for students with disabilities, between the ages of 18 and 22, who need a program centered on work and life skills. The program prepares students to successfully transition from school, to live and work in their community.

Katie Fleming
Program Supervisor

Why Parents Choose Pathways

Excellent Staff: The intervention specialists, transition coordinator, and job coaches demonstrate sincere concern and respect for each young adult in the program. They evidence this by meeting each person at their readiness level and establishing appropriate steps toward achieving their chosen goals.

Pathways staff were awarded the 2019 Franklin B Walter Outstanding Educator Award for making extraordinary contributions to the education of students with disabilities!

image: woman sitting at desk with dog sitting next to her

Observable Growth: Successful adults possess numerous soft skills that are difficult to measure but easily observed. Pathways participants exit the program having gained maturity, independence, and greater confidence, as well as life and employment skills.

Caring environment: Leaving one’s “home school” is scary for both parents and program participants. However, the routines, structures, and open communication practices implemented by the staff members enable the quick development of trust.

“…love, love, love this program. My son is confident, independent and ready for competitive employment.”

Parent, Pathways to Employment

Why Students Love Pathways

Applicable learning: As a Pathways participant, young adults focus on functional academics as they apply to daily living. Everyday tasks, serving as the foundation of the curriculum, such as budgeting, shopping, cooking, and time management enhance both math and reading skills.

Emily Boehl, recipient Franklin B. Walter Outstanding Achievement Award

Pathways graduate, Emily Boehl was with the program for three years. With her sparkling personality and her family’s commitment to her success she brought an enthusiasm to participate, a willingness to try and a great sense of humor overcoming many challenges. Read her Student Profile to learn more about her Pathway’s experience.

Real-life experiences: Young adults in the program enjoy several short-term (2-3 months) work experiences in the community. With the help of their one-to-one job coach, participants identify work fields best suited to their strengths, interests, and aspirations.

Lasting friendships: Throughout their time in the program, participants plan and attend community outings with their peers and their families. During which they practice travel training, experience new things, learn self-advocacy, and form life-long friendships. Best of all, they have fun!

Austin Brown prepared for the job through the Pathways to Employment program at Hamilton County Education Services Center, which he attended after finishing high school at Oak Hills. Read about Austin’s journey in the Cincinnati Enquirer article, “Pathways to Employment program helps students with disabilities transition to adulthood,” by Madeline Mitchell or the Spectrum News 1 article, “Awesome Austin creates smiles on a pathway to success” by Tino Bovenzi.

“Pathways is awesome. I can do all kinds of things independently – ride the metro, go to the grocery and the bank…”

Student, Pathways to Employment

What Makes Pathways Unique?

Individualized experience: Pathways staff construct a customized daily schedule that aligns to the needs of each young adult. No two participants have the same experience.

Job training: All participants learn how to search, apply for, and interview for a job. They understand how to conduct themselves in a professional setting through on-the-job training and the assistance of their job coach. Most importantly, the work experiences provide students the chance to transfer classroom learning to real- world situations.

Business Partnerships: Pathways to Employment has an assortment of community partners from various industries such as clerical, pet care, retail, food service, entertainment, healthcare, personal care, hospitality, and childcare. Should a student desire an experience in a setting in which there is not an established partnership, the Pathways staff will build one!


Katie Fleming, Program Supervisor

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