Skills, Transitioning, and Employment Pathways to Success! Empowering individuals through vocational training in which they can explore their unique talents
Skills, Transitioning & Employment Pathways to Success (S.T.E.P.S.) began the process of becoming a non-profit in 2018, but the true inception began years before. Traci Johnston, our founder and president, began as a special education teacher in our community. Throughout her many years of teaching she saw first hand the lack of quality programs for individuals following high school in our area. In 2013, Traci and a handful of individuals established Next Step Transition Center, a day habilitation center and waiver program provided. Over the past six years, she has worked tirelessly to fulfill her dream of creating a place for all those in need. Next Step Transition Center now serves over fifty individuals in our community, providing them with support in an array of medicaid waiver services that are provided through the Harris Center and the state of Texas, vocational training, day habilitation services, and a place to live in our group home. As Next Step continues to grow, the needs of individuals with special needs in our area has become even more apparent.
Each year the number of individuals enrolled in special education increases, with exponential growth over the past four years. The continued increase of individuals with intellectual, physical, and emotional disabilities has created an even greater need for programs for these individuals following high school. Texas has one of the highest populations of individuals with disabilities at 12.9%, most of whom live in Houston and the surrounding gulf coast region. According to the Texas Workforce Council, as of 2014 individuals with disabilities aged 16 to 24 made up only 4.1% of the labor force in that age range while individuals with disabilities aged 24 to 64 made up only 5.9% of the labor force in that age range. This disparity not only highlights the lack of workplaces that provide opportunities for these individuals, but the lack of training to prepare individuals for the workforce.
Our local community, Deer Park, made up of 7.9% of individuals with disabilities while the surrounding communities of Pasadena and La Porte have 8.1% and 11.6% respectively. Our surrounding communities, Pasadena and La Porte, have several government funded and private programs for individuals with special needs of all ages. Deer Park, however has no programs run by the local government and a handful of private programs for young adults.
Traci Johnston founded two programs for our community:Next Step Transition Center and Skills, Transitioning & Employment Pathways to Success (S.T.E.P.S.). Next Step Transition Center provides socialization and community integration for young adults. Skills, Transitioning & Employment Pathways to Success (S.T.E.P.S.) provides community-based vocational training and volunteer opportunities for young adults who would like to explore their unique talents. S.T.E.P.S. not only provides vocational training for young adults, but compensates young adults for their time and effort! We are so proud to offer young adults the opportunity to gain confidence and independence through skills and monetary compensation!
If you would like more information regarding our programs, follow the links or contact us by using the contact form below. If you would like to support our mission, you can make a one time or monthly contribution.