University of South Florida

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences


The Learning Academy at USF announces rebrand to LAUNCH USF


The Learning Academy Services at USF, a long-time leader in transition and employment services for autistic adults announced today a major rebranding. The rebrand to LAUNCH USF reflects how the organization has grown and expanded over the years.

The Learning Academy (TLA) was founded in 2009 by Karen Berkman, PhD and Susan Richmond, MEd (both retired meritoriously). The idea for The Learning Academy came about out of a need for transition services in Florida. Richmond had the idea to create a transition program for young adults on the autism spectrum in a setting where young people should be: college. With the support of University of South Florida (USF) College of Behavioral and Community Sciences and Florida Center for Inclusive Communities, TLA hosted its first cohort in 2009. Since then, the organization grew expeditiously, branching out to employment supports, youth transition, business services and, most recently, technology training.

"The TLA team has worked diligently over the past few years to examine novel subject matter and means of learning delivery, and explore emerging fields that may be particularly suited for neurodiverse young adults. This rebrand is a symbolic representation of our commitment to creating vibrant, increasingly relevant new programs while continuing to provide the long-validated, practical instructional methods that have always been the hallmark of The Learning Academy. This combination makes LAUNCH a perfectly fitting title for both our program and our process," said Executive Director Beth Boone, PhD, BCBA.

The organization will change its name to LAUNCH USF as well as release a new logo and website redesign that will all work with its growing business model.

The Learning Academy Services has been at the forefront of creating innovative programming focused on improving employment and post-secondary outcomes of people on the autism spectrum. Their approach promotes self-actualization, supports dignity of risk, and seeks to help every person achieve their career aspirations. Today, the organization offers LAUNCH Academy, a 30-week transition program; employment services; business focused solutions; technology training; and transition services for adolescents and young adults.

Explore the new website and brand here.

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The Mission of the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS) is to advance knowledge through interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service that improves the capacity of individuals, families, and diverse communities to promote productive, satisfying, healthy, and safe lives across the lifespan. CBCS envisions the college as a globally recognized leader that creates innovative solutions to complex conditions that affect the behavior and well-being of individuals, families, and diverse communities.