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Kim Riley knows from experience how difficult it is for parents of students with autism or developmental disabilities to make arrangements for them after they graduate from high school. In 2019, she founded The Transition Academy as a way of supporting the families facing mountains of paperwork and no clear plan. The organization’s mission is to make economic inclusion a reality for youth with disabilities, especially young people of color who have historically been failed by systems. “I want The Transition Academy to offer families hope,” Kim said. She noted that when students are aware of their skills and talents and have career paths, they are more likely to gain economic independence. Kim added, “We’re also teaching families to look for unique opportunities.” These include entrepreneurship. The Transition Academy provides guidance on employment, education, health, and government benefits. The organization is looking for partners, particularly employers who are able to offer opportunities for internships, apprenticeships, job shadowing, and short-term and/or long-term employment. The first KC DiversAbility College and Career Fair was held in 2022. The Transition Academy is now collaborating with two partners, Sherwood Autism Center and Down Syndrome Innovations, on the 2023 KC DiversAbility College and Career Fair, which will be held on April 6th at Metropolitan Community College–Penn Valley.  

KC DiversAbility College and Career Fair 2022 Team Members: (Front row) Jorge Holguin, Pablo Olivas, Kim Riley, founder; Kate Duffy, and Tess Koppelman (back row) Joe Taylor


The 2022 KC DiversAbility College and Career Fair


The 2022 KC DiversAbility College and Career Fair


Kim Riley, founder; with her son, Kendall

Featured in the March 18, 2023 issue of The Independent.
Learn more at TheTransitionAcademy.org.


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