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Project Career Launch

ProjectCLThe first cohort of Project Career Launch on the first day of classes.

Project Career Launch: After three years of success implementing Project SEARCH, Transition Pathways of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Life Course Outcomes Program is collaborating with the School District of Philadelphia, Hill-Freedman World Academy and Community Integrated Services to create more opportunities for youth on the autism spectrum. Project Career Launch at Drexel University is a one-year transition program to prepare young adults on the autism spectrum for career-focused employment. Participants engage in self-discovery and career exploration through peer mentoring, community-based learning and internships. Project Career Launch adopts the framework and program principles of The Learning Academy at the University of South Florida.  The pilot program started in fall 2019 on Drexel’s campus.

Outcomes for Students

  • Competitive employment, connection to postsecondary education or further training
  • Career plan with specific strategies to set and achieve goals
  • Knowledge of their strengths, abilities, and accommodations needed in the workplace
  • Connection to adult services and community resources

Curriculum Topics

  • Understanding the value of work, expectations and career development
  • Job matching, job search, and associated skills to obtain and maintain employment
  • Building self-management skills related to employment
  • Developing an understanding of financial literacy including benefits
  • Self-determination and self-advocacy

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be a student of the Philadelphia School District, be on the autism spectrum and 18 years or older. An ideal Project Career Launch student is motivated to work or attend post-secondary education upon program completion. Participants should also be able to regulate their behavior with minimal directions and be willing to travel to and from campus and internship sites with minimal support.

Internship Digital Badging


Transition Pathways offers vocational training and internship opportunities for young adults on the autism spectrum and with other disabilities. Participants obtain valuable, real-world work experience to support success in the 21st century workforce. Transition Pathways pledges that participants who have obtained the Digital Badge have participated in a quality internship experience and have received training in the professional skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be a student of the School District of Philadelphia to participate?

Yes, all program participants must be active students enrolled in the School District of Philadelphia between the ages of 18-21.

Does Project Career Launch provide transportation?

No. Students are responsible for transportation to and from campus. However, upon acceptance to the program, travel training may be available.

Are the internships paid?

Some internships may be paid, some may not. Obtaining a paid internship is not guaranteed.

What does a typical week at Project Carer Launch look like?

Throughout the week, students should expect to have about 3 hours per day of instructional time, 4 hours each week with Drexel University peer mentors, and about 5 hours participating in community based learning. Additional time participating in career development/internships activities will vary based on the semester.