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Lifeworks at WKU breaks ground on residential complex to support adults on autism spectrum

Western Kentucky University and local officials broke ground Monday on a two-year residential program designed to provide living, working and recreation support for individuals on the autism spectrum who are 21 years of age and older and are ready to enter the workforce.

This innovative program is made possible through generous support from the community and will strengthen the strong partnership in place to support individuals and families and educate students in best practices.

“At WKU, we work to transform the lives of our students and elevate our community,” WKU President Timothy C. Caboni said. “Public/private partnerships, such as this, are incredibly important to our efforts in accomplishing our mission.”

The residential buildings for LifeWorks at WKU will be located at 1328 Adams St. and will be completed through a renovation of existing apartment buildings. Renovations to the residential housing complex will be complete in spring 2020, and LifeWorks will launch with six residents in fall 2020. At capacity, the program will have 26 participants.

“The LifeWorks at WKU program is committed to bringing nationally best practices and innovations to help participants life their best lives,” said Joe Dan Beavers, President and CEO of LIfeSkills Inc. and Chairman of the board of Directors of the LifeWorks at WKU program.

LifeWorks at WKU will focus on independence, productivity and community engagement through four tiers of instruction: supported living, supported employment, community engagement, and education for relationships at home, in the workplace and in the community. Vocational skills will be assessed and developed so participants can identify and maintain employment of their choice in an appropriate work setting.

Mentors will be assigned to each participant to determine their interests and needs so that, with support, they can fully engage in their communities. Mentors will also assist each participant with the planning and execution of a group activity once per semester in order to learn to make meaningful use of leisure time.

“Lifeworks at WKU will join the ranks of pioneers in providing programming and support for individuals on the autism spectrum as they transition to adult life and navigate the work world independently,” said Mary Lloyd Moore, Executive Director of the Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex. “The impact of the LifeWorks at WKU program could be transformational for individual participants, their families and the WKU community.”

“We are truly blessed to have the LifeWorks at WKU program in our community,” said Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to the immediate and future impact it will have as we collaborate to contribute to workforce development and positively influence the lives of individuals with autism and their families.”

For more information, visit www.lifeworksatwku.com.

From Western Kentucky University

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