Ben Discovers his Path to Success with PTI’s GAP Services

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Having access to a structured environment is critical for Ben to discover what he is capable of and realizing the path to reach his goals. PTI’s GAP Services fits that need for him as it relates to socializing, improving employment and job-seeking skills or planning for his future. “I have a hard time getting motivated to go out and do things on my own” he says, “Pathways to Independence provides more of a structure for me.”

When he first came to PTI at the urging of his uncle four years ago, Ben says, “I wanted to have a social life, to do more stuff around St. Louis and get out of my shell a bit more. Being cooped up in my house, it’s bad for my psychological well-being.” By being involved with PTI, Ben says, “I’m more enriched by being able to go out and do things.”

On top of having more of a social life, one of Ben’s goals is to have a long-lasting career in information technology. He has worked seasonally for a software company, but wants to have a full-time, long-term career. He started working with Beth Gill in PTI’s new GAP (Growth and Potential) services program. For Ben, it includes 1:1 training on employment readiness, interview skills, job training and applications. A huge step forward for Ben has been discovering, applying for and being accepted into the LaunchCode program using his existing computer skills and the guidance and help of Beth.

The LaunchCode program is funded by private companies and provides training and later apprenticeships for people who want to get into the computer science field. It is a competitive program to be admitted to and Ben describes it as “an adapted course from Harvard and Yale that is aimed at people who come from a nontraditional background who want to learn computer science….I started on the wait list and then got into the class.” The LaunchCode apprenticeship program leads to jobs for 90% of their students.

The skills Ben has gained through PTI’s group social programming have already helped with the LanchCode class. He says, “There are a lot of group projects within the class that are discussion-based. It’s very gratifying to work with others and PTI has made me more confident to reach out and take initiative to join the conversation.  I’ve been helped through PTI and now have the skills to work with others on projects in a group situation.”

While he says he still “struggles with consistency and follow-through,” he credits PTI with “connecting me with people and making me a fuller person.” Through the help of PTI’s social and GAP programs, Ben has developed his abilities and has a clear path to follow in order to achieve his goals.


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Ben and Beth at the library where they often meet


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Ben(left) and a volunteer at our 2016 Trivia Night


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Ben(left) with a volunteer at Counter Top Cooking