NEXT for AUTISM FELLOWS is a new national scholarship program for students and professionals interested in working with neurodivergent adults
November 15, 2023 (New York, NY)—NEXT for AUTISM (NEXT), a leading nonprofit dedicated to transforming the national landscape of services for people with autism by strategically designing, launching, and supporting innovative initiatives, has proudly awarded six (6) NEXT for AUTISM Fellowships in its first year of the program.
This new, national scholarship program is the first of its kind, to provide a combination of tuition assistance for students pursuing health and human services degrees with an interest in autism with a fellowship program. Each recipient will work 800 hours a year as a Direct Service Professional (DSP) supporting autistic adults.
“Not only are the inaugural Fellows outstanding students,” shared Gillian Leek, CEO, NEXT for AUTISM, “but their commitment to working with autistic adults, now and beyond graduation is a great indication of the next generation of professionals entering the field.”
The scholarship recipients represent top institutions across the country, including George Mason University (VA), State University of New York at Buffalo (NY), Great Basin College (NV), University of California at Berkeley (CA), Morehead State University (KY), and Lansing Community College (MI).
“I am thankful not just for the scholarship but also for the chance to learn and get real-life experience working with adults on the Autism Spectrum. It’s something that I love to do.”
Laura-Esly C, NEXT for AUTISM FELLOWS recipient
There are more autistic adults who need services than there are qualified DSPs to support them. In fact, more than 482,000 adults with autism and intellectual disabilities are waitlisted for services that they need and deserve. As the need for DSPs and neurodivergent professionals continues to increase, it’s anticipated that there will be seven million vacant DSP job openings by 2029. Now is the time to help pave the way for a positive future—for work as a DSP and to ensure meaningful support and mentorship for an autistic adult.
The 2024 NEXT for AUTISM Fellows Scholarship cycle will open in February 2024.
ABOUT NEXT FOR AUTISM
NEXT for AUTISM is the leading nonprofit dedicated to transforming the national landscape of services for people with autism by strategically designing, launching, and supporting innovative initiatives.
In 2023, the organization’s 20th anniversary, NEXT remains steadfast in its quest to change the paradigm for how individuals with autism thrive throughout their adult lives. This is done by leveraging a broad range of autistic and neurotypical stakeholders and partnering with national organizations, regional agencies, and local entities to enhance services and maximize resources. Learn more at NEXTforAUTISM.org