Employment Initiative

The Autism Society’s Employment initiative creates connections – between Autistic individuals, caregivers, and employers – to advance access to resources, training, and opportunities for meaningful work experiences.

The Autism Society firmly believes in empowering Autistic individuals by championing integrated employment opportunities that focus not just on providing a job, but a fulfilling experience as part of the larger workforce. Employment encompasses full-time and part-time paid work, internships, volunteer opportunities, mentorship programs and more.

By leveraging an individual’s strengths and abilities, employment is attainable with the proper accommodations, supports, services, and an inclusive mindset.  Our program works to support: Amplifying Our Reach, Driving Innovation, and Empowering Change.

Planning for Employment

Employment plays a pivotal role in adulthood and should be part of every child’s life plan. When planning for employment, it’s helpful to connect with your local Autism Society affiliate and/or Department of Vocational Rehabilitation which has representation in each state and territory in the United States. The state vocational rehabilitation agency assists people with Autism and other disabilities to prepare for and engage in employment. This agency has resources and connections to meet your career goals, whether you need education prior to employment, a communication aide, or a job coach, they can be a great resource.

Fulfillment Mindset and Integrated Employment

Our two main pillars of working towards meaningful employment and success lay within a Fulfillment Mindset and Integrated Employment.

A Fulfillment Mindset recognizes that there are numerous ways for Autistic individuals to achieve fulfillment through employment.

  • The Employment Initiative underscores the importance of social-emotional fulfillment for Autistic individuals in their employment journeys. By providing targeted resources, training, and support, we strive to create more inclusive environments and systems that ensure individuals with diverse needs can thrive in their chosen paths.
  • By focusing on whole-person integration in employment and community surroundings, we can better support those with Autism in workplace settings and throughout their lives.

Integrated Employment refers to jobs in workplace settings where individuals with Autism work side by side with colleagues without disabilities. In this diverse and inclusive environment, everyone is paid, at least, the recognized federal minimum wage and experiences the same opportunities for advancement.

  • Beyond job-attainment, integrated employment empowers personal growth, increases self-esteem, and enables community inclusion for Autistic individuals.
  • For employers, integrated employment fosters a diversified workforce, encourages innovative problem-solving, and contributes to higher retention rates.

The Four Pillars of Belonging

The Autism Society’s Employment Initiative seeks to break down systemic barriers and enable change through our Four Pillars of Belonging which are; Enabling Acceptance, Enabling Access, Enabling Dignity and Enabling Excitement.

Enabling Acceptance
Enabling Access
Enabling Dignity
Enabling Excitement
Enabling Acceptance
Enabling Access
Enabling Dignity
Enabling Excitement

Employment Statistics

The current state of employment in the Autism and disability communities is unacceptable, we can and must do better. Diversity, equity, and inclusion practices strengthen a company’s culture, operations, and output.

Resources

Resources image

To support your journey towards fulfilling employment, we offer a variety of resources. For Autistic job seekers, we provide comprehensive guides and tools designed to help you navigate the employment process.

Families and support networks can access resources to assist their loved ones in finding suitable work. 

Employers are provided with best-practice resources to foster a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

Partners

The Employment Initiative extends its heartfelt gratitude to the Make Waves Family Foundation for their invaluable support. With their generous contributions, we are empowered to forge meaningful connections and drive impactful change, particularly in the realm of increasing opportunities around employment for the Autism community.

The Ireland Family Foundation is a North Carolina Not-for-Profit Corporation organized under North Carolina laws and is classified as a private foundation by the Internal Revenue Services. Filing a 990 PF tax form, the foundation grants only to legally formed not-for-profits with no religious or political affiliations.

Wells Fargo has continued to support the efforts of the Autism Society to focus on building employment research and resources. This partnership creates opportunities for jobseekers and also equips employers with the necessary tools to value, support, and retain Autistic employees.

Collaborating Partners

Give

With continued support for the Employment initiative, we can increase access to jobs, training, and companies to better serve the  Autistic community along their career path.

Whether you donate $5 or $500, every amount helps. If you can’t donate at this time, we ask that you click the share button to spread the word.