FBO Welcomes OCA’s Adult Vocational Training Program


Perhaps you might have missed the Dateline special last night titled “Lives On The Brink.”  Over a three-year period, Dateline chronicled the raw and emotional journeys of two young adults with autism and their families, as they transition from graduation to adulthood and make a leap towards an uncertain future.

The parents of these young adults with autism anticipated that their transitions would be difficult, but they soon found that it was far worse than they imagined. This Dateline special follows their frantic search for any program or activity that might help them because after turning 21 (each state determines the exact date), those young adults lose the specialized help and structure they’ve had for most of their lives.

The reality is that approximately 500,000 teens on the autism spectrum will age-out of the education system in the next 10-years.  Many of these young adults will face challenges finding options to help them learn a vocational skill or attend college.

The rate of unemployment for young adults on the autism spectrum is high because there is a lack of opportunities for vocational training.

AllInLast year Pastor Uth challenged the body of Christ at First Baptist Orlando to be “All In.”  All In is the journey in which we have committed to imagining what could happen when thousands of believers who call First Baptist Orlando their home join together to ignite change in our church, our city, and the world.

From the beginning, First Baptist Orlando and the Special Friends ministry has valued Kingdom-minded partnerships.  We’ve recognized that there are others out there who are already taking a stand, already making a difference, and already advocating for some of the same things we advocate for too.

Because we’re All In we’ve decided to partner with the Orlando-based nonprofit: OCA.  OCA was founded by parents, teachers, therapists and members of the community who know that children and adults with Autism and other disabilities need more opportunities to engage in age-appropriate activities with their typical peers.

OcaAVTOCA’s Adult Vocational Training Program (AVT) provides unique learning opportunities for adults with Autism and other disabilities.  Pre-vocational training is provided on to build prerequisite skills to be successful in their off-campus program.  The off-campus program provides a supported environment for their participants to sharpen their vocational skills and enhance their employment opportunities.

We’re proud to announce that our campus is now one of OCA’s adult vocational training sites!  Each week, young adults with special needs will work alongside others in our First Orlando Food Service Ministry and acquire vocational skills that might someday help them to become employed.

First Baptist Orlando are a people of welcome to those with special needs and their families.  We look forward to continuing to find ways to make a positive difference in the lives of those in Central Florida’s disability community.

Mike Woods, M.A. Director Special Friends Ministry @First Baptist Orlando

SpecialFriendsLogoBTRPS:  THANK YOU to our Special Friends Prayer Network for faithfully bringing this opportunity before the Lord each and every day in prayer!

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About Michael Woods

Christ-follower, husband, chocoholic, and peanut-butter lover! I'm a father to triplet boys...each on the autism spectrum.

View all posts by Michael Woods


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