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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jobs in 2017

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the employment of adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Many posts have discussed programs to provide them with training and experience

At Forbes, Michael Bernick notes the disconnect between these efforts and the still-too-high unemployment numbers:
Looking to 2017, David Kearon the employment specialist at Autism Speaks recognizes the disconnect, but sees a momentum growing as success at some firms brings others on board. He writes:
“Moving forward, I think we as a community need to learn from the successes of the programs at companies like SAP and Microsoft — and also from small businesses like AutonomyWorks and ULTRA Testing — and apply them to other industries in which greater numbers of people with autism could contribute. I also think we need greater emphasis on strategies to help individuals with autism retain these jobs once they’ve been hired. I’m concerned that some programs move on too quickly after job placement, as if the work is done. For many people with autism, some type of ongoing support is critical to their success (and that of the business, as well). I am hopeful that over time, the cultures of these businesses can transform enough to provide these necessary supports in a natural way to employees who are differently-abled. Then, this movement will be truly sustainable.”
Dr. Hackie Reitman is an orthopedic surgeon in Florida who in 2016 founded DifferentBrains.comto promote neurodiversity in hiring, and spends much of his time now traveling throughout the country to meet with local employment initiatives. Looking to 2017, he notes that “Recently I was part of Trailblazing 2016, the autism entrepreneurship event put on in Broward County by Minerva and Boaz Santiago of the online platform, Picasso Einstein; then meetings with persons on the spectrum and advocates starting their own employment initiatives in Colorado, Tennessee and California. It’s not just the Microsofts and the Googles who have very high functioning employees with Asperger’s syndrome. It also can and must be the offices, the service businesses, the repetitive work that speaks to a workforce that enjoys doing it, are loyal employees, will never lie, will not call in sick and will be grateful to gain the gift of independence. Society needs to understand and embrace neurodiversity for the benefit of all of us. It’s amazing to see the grassroots initiatives.”