Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Employment Program for Adults with Disabilities

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.

Unemployment among people with disabilities is down. One reason is the overall job market.  Another is the effort of companies to hire disabled people. Eric Morath at WSJ:
Like many adults with disabilities, Nathan Mort has often struggled to find and hold a job. A conservation group once declined his attempt to volunteer. The 37-year-old West Michigan native, who has a high-functioning form of autism, ended up living with his parents and dependent on government payments.
His fortunes turned several years ago when a local food distributor, Gordon Food Service, found itself short of entry-level workers and developed an internship program for adults with disabilities. Mr. Mort was hired from the program permanently to track warranty claims for the company’s trucks and other equipment. That allowed him to stop collecting federal disability benefits and move into his own home.
The program that brought Mr. Mort to Gordon Food Service came from the company recognizing it may be missing a potential pool of candidates, said Jill Day, senior talent acquisition leader. A suggestion to work with Hope Network, a Grand Rapids, Mich., nonprofit that serves the disabled, came from staff members who had disabled family members.
Gordon Food Service was able to tap into what some autism experts call a “splinter skill,” something an autistic person does exceptionally well. For Mr. Mort it’s the ability to process complex strings of numbers combined with being a fast typist—his hands don’t bother him on a keyboard.
Mr. Mort’s father, Bruce, now worries less about what will happen once he and his wife are no longer able to care for their son. “It was scary for a while,” he said. “During the recession there weren’t many companies willing to give someone with autism a chance.”