Columbus Connects

Columbus Connects

In the Columbus Connects program, pre-employment specialists work with students ages 14 to 21 to explore what comes next after they complete high school. There is no cost for these services.

Job Exploration Counseling

Includes career exploration counseling, an interest assessment, virtual and in-person site visits to businesses within each participant’s realm of interests.

Counseling on Post-Secondary Education

Introduction to post-secondary education, including tours of college and technical school campuses relevant to each participant’s interests.

Workplace Readiness

Includes practice work scenarios, practice job applications, practice interviews, resume building, and job coaching.

Work-Based Learning

Job shadowing. Short-term paid internships may be arranged at businesses in the realm of each participant’s interests with the objective of furthering relevant work experience in their career field of choice.


Connections to various government and community resources are provided, including introductions to affordable housing and guardianship supports. Participants will be given an opportunity to speak with representatives, apply for needed services, and advocate for themselves to the best of their ability.
The Program

The Columbus Connects program provides pre-employment transition services to individuals with disabilities, ages 14-21 and their parents. There is no cost for this program.

This program is individualized to each person’s strengths, interests, and needs. Each participant is paired with a pre-employment specialist who will work one-on-one with them and connect them to all resources and opportunities which will aid in their transition to employment and independent life.

Columbus Connects integrates a case-management model into our larger umbrella of services to assess a young adult’s needs and begin educating families preparing them for future employment to indepedent living.

Also, Columbus staff  work with the student to provide a comprehensive assessment to determine a student’s pre-employment needs, educate parents on resources, design a pre- and post-secondary transition plan, and provide or refer services on an individualized basis.

Eligibility Criteria
  • The program participants must be between the ages of 14-21 and have a documented disability.
  • The participant cannot currently be on the waitlist for Vocational Rehabilitation services

Additionally, we follow the eligibility guidelines of the Utah State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, which includes the following:

  • Copy of Individualized Education Program (IEP) from a school and/or copy of 504 plan, if applicable
  • Social security award letter/ confirmation of SSI benefits
  • Letter/medical records from a licensed medical provider stating diagnosis of disability
  • Approved USOR form signed by a licensed professional such as a teacher or school counselor


Chris and Georgia S.

“We appreciated the wealth of information and programs available to our son, which included working on resumes, discussing employment options, and future issues such as housing. The housing issues was an unexpected, but very beneficial piece of information. We came into this program with no expectations, so I would say that we had our expectations met or exceeded. We also liked Karla’s ability to be creative with our sons’ limitations.”

- Chris and Georgia S.

Chad and Rebecca

“This has been a wonderful experience for my son! As a result of the program he is more verbal, outgoing, and it built up his confidence and self-esteem. He is more sure of himself. He was able to go out and get a job at Point S in Heber because of all the workplace readiness prep that was done with him. His teacher said, “His mom told me he is covered in grease from head to toe when he comes home from work, and he loves it!”. Of course, he is having a few challenges with the job, but overall, he is loving what he is doing and doing what he loves! He aspires to become a mechanic, and this is the first step for him going into the career that he wants after high school.”

- Chad and Rebecca


“Columbus Connects is a great program for students with transitional needs. They have caring staff that really gets to know the students individually and to meet their needs. The staff really engage the students in preparation for obtaining a job with resumes, practice interviews, and help with presentations have helped many students to be successful and go on to obtain a job. I would recommend this company to anyone who works with students with transitional needs.”

- MB

Alysha Kester-Terry

“The collaboration between Columbus Connects staff has been superb, with frequent communication, documentation, and planning. It has been a positive experience for everyone. I personally feel that my company has benefitted greatly from the program as it has helped us refine several processes, create team agreements and efficient training guides. This collaboration has also enhanced our client relationships. The students we have hosted internships for have learned lifelong skills for communicating effectively, becoming accountable, and learning time management, and I have seen the pride they take in achieving greatness in their work. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Columbus Connects.”

- Alysha Kester-Terry

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Columbus Connects is made possible with funding from the Department of Workforce Service Pre-ETS grant.

Contact Us

Where to Start
Columbus can guide you to explore funding that can help pay for support services. Click on the link below for more information.