Community Employment

Columbus is recognized as an entrepreneurial business leader in our community that matches qualified individuals with meaningful work opportunities. Our success lies in our ability to recognize the potential that each individual brings to the workplace and, in turn, we work with local businesses to find ways to maximize that potential.

Our Community Employment department has three divisions: 

Supported Employment

Columbus Community Center’s Supported Employ­ment Program assists people with disabilities to find meaningful employment in local communities. Participants are integrated into community employ­ment settings with nondisabled workers as part of the process of discovering their gifts and talents. Employment specialists seek to match each client with employment that best matches their interests and abilities.

The Process:

  • Approval by funding source
  • Orientation to Columbus & Programs
  • Intake & Evaluation
  • Assessment
  • Look for employment
  • Apply and interview for jobs
  • Obtain employment
  • Receive job coaching/on-going support


NextWork provides programming to assist individuals on the autism spectrum, and their families, in the following ways:

  • Identify, discover and explore interests
  • Teach and reinforce social and technical skills
  • Introduce individuals to possible careers
  • Assist individuals in building a path to a career
  • Gain a greater understanding of available services, and how to access them
  • Discover employment, achieve employment, and keep employment
  • Consider college, university, or a technical trade school, post high school graduation
  • Increase independence and quality of life as students prepare for adulthood
  • Have the opportunity to participate in NeuroVersity, Lego Mindstorm Robotics camp, Digitability, or The ASD Employment Group run in partnership with the University of Utah Autism Clinic

“NextWork helps individuals with autism spectrum disorders develop a healthy identity, discover and focus on their strengths and talents, and create value for society by learning specific skills with the end goal of becoming employed and living independently in the community.” — William M. McMahon, MD, Former Chair of Psychiatry, University of Utah, and Columbus Community Center Board member

For more information about our transition services and programs, please contact Amy at

Columbus Connects

“Pre-Employment Transition Services for Youth with Disabilities”

The Columbus Connects program provides pre-employment transition services to individuals with disabilities, ages 14-21 who are enrolled in school (high school or college).  The program guides participants through 7 distinct modules that provide job exploration, work-based learning experiences, post-secondary educational counseling, guidance in navigating government and community resources, and skills training for workplace readiness, social skills, independent living, and self-advocacy.  In order to participate in the Columbus Connects program, participants must be between the ages of 14-21, have a documented disability, be a current student, and must have a parent or caregiver willing to participate in the program with them.

Debbie Downs

Program Director, Columbus Connects

Main phone: (801) 262-1552

Cell Phone: (801) 244-0666

Direct Line: (385) 715-5374


Anna Marie is a huge asset to the store. In 2010, this store had the highest coffee sales in the state. And when we started looking into it, we contributed it to having Anna Marie here in the mornings helping with the coffee."

Ann Gallaway, 7-Eleven

Watch Anna Marie’s Story »


Need more information?


Referring Agencies
For Referring Agencies

If you have an individual that you would like to refer to Columbus for assessment, training, and job placement, contact the following person to discuss the enrollment arrangements and intake:

Safia Keller

Chief Employment Development Officer

Individuals Seeking Employment
For Individuals Seeking Employment Opportunities

Tell your Case Manager that you are interested in the Columbus Supported Employment Program.

To enter a Columbus program, you need to have funding from:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services (USOR)
  • Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD)
  • Department of Workforce Services (DWS)
  • One of the school districts
  • Private pay

For more information contact:

Safia Keller

Chief Employment Development Officer

Local Businesses
For Local Businesses Looking for Qualified Employees
  • We provide a unique free employment service to local businesses
  • We work with you to determine your staffing needs and find individuals to meet those needs
  • We provide on-the-job training resources and job coaching after hire

For more information contact:

Safia Keller

Chief Employment Development Officer