118 Stories & Counting – Supported Employment

118 Stories & Counting: How Microsoft’s Supported Employment Program Is Helping People


In the Puget Sound, Microsoft’s Real Estate and Facilities group is partnering with vendor employers and employment agencies to create job opportunities for people who experience disabilities.

Watch as four people, along with their families and job coaches, share their stories and discuss the impact this partnership has had on their lives.

See: Microsoft Support Employment video


Apprenticeship Information – ODEP

The goal of the US Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) apprenticeship initiative is to increase systems capacity to provide integrated inclusive apprenticeship training to youth and young adults with a full range of disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, and to utilize the increased flexibilities detailed in DOL’s newly released apprenticeship regulations.

Website: http://www.dol.gov/odep/categories/youth/apprenticeship.htm


APSE is the only national organization with an exclusive focus on integrated employment and career advancement opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  APSE is a growing national non-profit membership organization, founded in 1988 and is now known as Association of  People Supporting EmploymentFirst (APSE).

APSE has chapters in 35 states and the District of Columbia.  Our members come from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, as well as several foreign countries.

APSE’s HR Connect offers consultation services to help businesses reach out to and partner with one of the strongest labor and customer pools in the country:  the disability community.

APSE supports the only annual national conference focused solely on the advancement of integrated employment.

Website: http://www.apse.org/

ARI Adults with ASD eBulletin | Feb. 2013

Subject: Employment

From the Editor:

Welcome to our February issue. After last issue’s break from our usual format with the publication of the well-received arts issue, we are back to business as usual. The rest of the editorial staff and I are very excited to offer you this jam packed issue focusing on employment, particularly matters related to job matching and accommodations.

February 2013 eNewsletter PDF:  Adults with ASD ARI eBulletin Feb2013

Website for Past Newsletters: http://www.autism.com/index.php/news_enewsletter

Ask JAN | Job Accommodation Network

If you have a question about workplace accommodations or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation, we can help.

Website: http://askjan.org
FAQ: http://askjan.org/links/faqs.htm

Practical Solutions – Workplace Success

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.  Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.

JAN’s trusted consultants offer one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities.  Assistance is available both over the phone and online.  Those who can benefit from JAN’s services include private employers of all sizes, government agencies, employee representatives, and service providers, as well as people with disabilities and their families.

read more


Software Testing Service
Software Testing Harnassing the Power of Asperger’s Syndrome & HFA

Aspiritech is a non-profit organization with a mission to provide a path for high functioning individuals on the Autism Spectrum to realize their potential through gainful employment.

To this end we harness these individuals’ unique abilities – attention to detail, precision, an affinity for repetitive tasks, outstanding technology skills – to provide competitively-priced software testing services. We achieve this by providing our testers a combination of intensive training, structure, and support to mitigate potential workplace challenges.

Website: http://www.aspiritech.org/

Autism and Career Assistance

Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

Career assistance

by Laura Geggel | Sept 6, 2013

Like any high school or college student, those with autism who do internships and receive career advice also improve their chances of landing a job.

There are few career services for young people with autism once they graduate from high school, which contributes to an unemployment rate as high as 90 percent among adults with the disorder.

A new study offers some ways to mitigate these odds somewhat: Like any high school or college student, those with autism who do internships and receive career advice also improve their chances of landing a job.

After completing a nine-month high school program of rotating internships, 21 of 24 students with autism found jobs compared with 1 of 16 who did not do internships or receive extra career support, according to the study, published 27 July in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

read more

Autism in the Workplace

Attention! The U.S. Department of Labor has made available approximately $20 million in grants to fund cooperative agreements that will improve educational, training and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities! Click here to learn more.

Important! The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing a new rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be people with disabilities! Click here to learn more.

Check it out! The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has announced its first disability-related application (app) challenge! It is designed to generate innovative tools that will improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities. Maybe you can win!

Attention! Think Beyond the Label will partner for Forbes Magazine in their popular October issue on a special section that promotes the business case for hiring workers with disabilities. As part of this opportunity, they’re also offering advertisers custom editorial space for highlighting their company’s best practices in hiring and retaining workers with disabilities. To learn more about this opportunity, contact Laura Wilhelm here.

More on Autism Speaks Website

Autism in the Workplace | Videos

Autism Speaks webpage offering a series of interesting videos of employed Adult ASD workers in a variety of job situations.

read more

CEC Career Center

The Special Education Employment Resource

http://specialedcareers.org is the only online recruitment source devoted to special education. Here, university and school recruiters and administrators can access the most qualified special educators with relevant work experience to fulfill staffing needs.

Website: http://jobboard.specialedcareers.org/
Location: Arlington, VA
Phone: (888) 232-7733

Coco Cafe | Vancouver Island, BC

Cedar Opportunities Coop was created as a means of helping make our Vancouver Island, BC communities of Cedar, Yellowpoint, Ladysmith, Nanaimo and Cassidy more inclusive for people with developmental disabilities.

We are a multi-stakeholder co-operative incorporated under the BC Cooperative Societies Act which means we are 100% locally owned. We subscribe to the principles of the International Co-operative Movement.

Like all of us, people who have developmental disabilities want and need meaningful work, opportunities to build skills, to take risks that allow them to learn and grow, and to be fully integrated into their community. We intend to develop economic and social opportunities that will make that happen. Our first goal is to support our family members with disabilities to realize their dreams. But, just as important, we want to make a positive contribution to our community.

Website: http://www.cedaropportunities.coop/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coco.cafe.cedar

DisabilityScoop | Jobs

Careers for Developmental Disability Professionals

Job Listing Section – National focus

Website: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/jobs/pro/search_results.php

DVD: Asperger Syndrome At Work

DVD Helps People with Asperger Syndrome Find and Keep a Job

Employees who have Asperger Syndrome describe secrets for getting and keeping a job in a new DVD titled, “Asperger Syndrome At Work.”

The DVD, produced by Coulter Video, includes two programs:
a) one for job seekers
b) one designed to show potential employers the advantages of hiring people who have Asperger Syndrome.

For more information:

Contact: Dan Coulter of Coulter Video
Phone: (336) 608-4224
Email: dan@coultervideo.com
Website: http://www.coultervideo.com

Effective Career Development Strategies for Young Artists with Disabilities

The Institute Brief 24

By:Heike Boeltzig, Rooshey Hasnain & Jennifer Sullivan Sulewski

One potential arena of employment for young people with disabilities is the arts. This brief reports on effective strategies that 47 young artists with disabilities used to gain access to arts-related experiences in order to further their educational and career pathways.

Across program years 2002–2005, these young artists, all aged 16 to 25, were finalists in the VSA arts/ Volkswagen of America, Inc. Program, an arts competition that was intended to showcase their talents and accomplishments. As part of the overall evaluation, we were able to identify career development strategies based on a review of finalists’ program applications. This brief is mainly targeted at visual artists, although the strategies may also apply to other groups of artists.

read more


Employment on the Autism Spectrum

Autism College Library

By Zosia Zaks, M.Ed., CRC


I recently heard that 97% of adults on the autism spectrum in the United States are not working. I don’t have the source for this data. Even so, we all know that the rate is too high. Something is amiss.

I believe that all adults can work and need to work. Work is more than just earning money to survive. Adults want to do jobs that make them feel proud. Work is about contributing to society. Even if that contribution happens in an alternative format, this is how a person senses his or her dignity. Therefore, the autism community must urgently address this issue of severe unemployment and underemployment.

read more


Fact Sheet on Autism & Employment

Presented at Autism Works
National Conference on Autism and Employment

Date: March 6 & 7, 2012 in St. Louis, MO
Presenter: Dr. Scott Standifer, Disability Policy and Studies, University of Missouri

See: http://www.dps.missouri.edu/Autism/AutismFactSheet2011.pdf

From Interest to Innovation: The Micro-Enterprise Model of Employment

By Julie van der Poel for Autism After 16
October 5, 2012

Ideally, everyone desiring employment should be able to find a job. Long term employment which provides income necessary for independent living is traditionally viewed as a key factor in creating quality of life. However, this aspect of quality of life is elusive to many adults with autism.

Continue reading:

Highline Community College Achieve Program | Employment

This program focuses on four major areas that prepare students for employment in the community: employment readiness, independent living, self-advocacy, and essential skill-building.

Website: http://ces.highline.edu/employment_services2.php

Hiring Requirements Eased For Those With Disabilities

Hiring Requirements Eased For Those With Disabilities

February 25, 2013

Traditionally, many people with disabilities have been required to prove their “job readiness” in order to be hired by the nation’s largest employer. Not anymore.

Under a new rule issued late last week, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management said that people with intellectual, psychiatric and severe physical disabilities will no longer be required to provide certification that they are ready to work when applying for jobs with the federal government.

Previously, applicants were asked to provide a letter from a medical professional, vocational rehabilitation specialist or disability benefit agency assessing their ability to perform the job.

The move is intended to make it simpler for people with disabilities to join the federal workforce by removing an “unnecessary burden,” officials said.

read more

Housing and Employment Resources – The Arc of King County

The Arc of King County | Washington State

Housing and Employment Resources

Website: http://arcofkingcounty.org/

Resource GuideAge 22 and older

Institute’s mobile apps are built by hands of those with autism

Computerworld – The connection between adults with autism and computer programming has become the basis of a unique nonprofit technology company in Texas.

Instructor Kyle works with student Taylor at the nonPareil Institute

Instructor Kyle works with student Taylor at the NonPareil Institute, which helps adults with autism learn skills in application development.

Called the nonPareil Institute (for “no equal”), the company builds apps for iPhone and Android phones and PCs. The 11 staffers provide 80 students who are on the autism spectrum, which includes Asperger’s Syndrome, technical training and help adjusting to a work environment.

The students, ranging in age from their early 20s to mid-50s, and staff have already launched NPISarobon, an abacus-like app for 99 cents available on the App Store for iPad. Two new apps, Card Tracker and Number Tap, are about to be launched in the App Store. NPISarbon was conceived and coded by Cheryl O’Brien, a student at the institute who is now a staff programmer.

read more

Also see: http://adultasd.org/nonpareil-institute/

Is Short-Term Job Coaching Practical for Autism Employment?

Autism Employment Experts Debate the Role of Job Coaches

from Autism Works, December, 2010

To

Left Foot Organics

Our Mission is to promote the self-sufficiency, inclusion and independence of people with developmental disabilities through involvement in environmentally sustainable agriculture.
Left Foot Organics operates an organic market garden on about five acres (in Olympia, WA), producing a variety of certified organic seasonal vegetables and flowers for sale in local markets. We grow over 50 varieties of vegetables, from arugula to zucchini. We also have eggs from our free range flock.


Life Enrichment Options (LEO)

Life Enrichment Options (LEO) is a community based non-profit organization that advocates and works to support individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve their goals through supportive housing, recreation, employment opportunities and community education.

Website: http://lifeenrichmentoptions.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Life-Enrichment-Options-LEO/255893314423702

P.O. Box 117, Issaquah, WA 98027-0006
Phone: 425.395.6688
Email: info@lifeenrichmentoptions.org

Preparing for the World of Work

From OAR E-News | subscribe
The OARacle | October 2012

How to

By Aaron Greene and Beth Thompson

15 Tips from a Teen with Autism
Preparing for the World of Work

Aaron Greene is a senior at Beachwood High School in Beachwood, Ohio. He is active in the marching band and enjoys playing music in his free time. Aaron participates in many community activities and enjoys spending time in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where he hopes to live as an adult. He aspires to work in the music industry field after graduation from high school.

Beth Thomson | Teen/adult service coordinator

Beth Thompson, teen/adult service coordinator at Milestones, worked with Greene.

Beth Thompson, MSSA, is the teen/adult services coordinator for Milestones Autism Organization and principal staff for The Roadmap to Adulthood Project. Thompson serves on the Regional Transition Advisory Committee for State Support Team Region 3 where she participates in countywide event planning for students with disabilities graduating from high school. She is certified as a customized employment specialist.

Aaron Greene has always been a good student, but it took learning different skills to prepare him to become a good worker. In the summer of 2011, Greene got his first chance to practice the vocational skills he had learned in a community-based internship with Milestones Autism Organization, located just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. As an intern at Milestones, Greene worked with Teen/Adult Services Coordinator Beth Thompson.

Greene credits his family, teachers, and friends for helping him prepare for his first internship and begin his path towards a productive vocational future. He in turn, wants to pass on the most important things he learned about being a successful intern to other young people on the autism spectrum. Continue Reading →

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a research environment that fosters visionary thinking and innovation in 1996.

Since its inception, Project SEARCH has grown from a single program site at Cincinnati Children’s to over 200 sites across the United States and Canada, England, Scotland, and Australia. Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities

 See: http://www.projectsearch.us/

Sheltered Workshops Offer Little Benefit, Studies Find

Do sheltered workshops enhance employment outcomes for adults with autism spectrum disorder?

Articles: Robert Evert Cimera, Paul Wehman, Michael West, and Sloane Burgess

Sheltered workshops are significantly more costly, yet no more effective than supported, competitive employment at ensuring job prospects for individuals with disabilities, new research suggests.

Two new studies — one focusing on adults with autism and the other looking at individuals with cognitive disabilities — compared the outcomes of those who started out in sheltered employment with those who did not.

see more….http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/02/21/sheltered-workshops-benefit/1503

See also: http://aut.sagepub.com/content/16/1/87.abstract?etoc 
Full Text (PDF)

Small businesses create new jobs for autistic adults

by Leoneda Inge
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 



It is high school graduation season across the country and most young adults are preparing for life in college or in the workforce.  Landing a job in this economy continues to be hard for millions of people. But what if you have autism?

The good news is there are communities popping up across the country that have come up with several small business models that ease young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) into the adult world of work and self-sufficiency.

read morehttp://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/small-businesses-create-new-jobs-autistic-adults


Supported Employment & Supported Volunteerism Training Manual

The Benefits of Disability in the Workplace

Forbes – 5/12/2012
Judy Owens | Contributor

I am a little surprised that I still find myself spending a majority of my time educating people on the problem I set out to solve when I started my company, Opportunity Works. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since I’ve only been at it for a number of months, not years (yet). It has occurred to me that shedding some organized, well-documented light on the problem here, might help. So here goes.

Opportunity Works was founded in an attempt to improve employment of people with disabilities. We are a for-profit staffing service company, focusing our recruiting on organizations providing support to people with disabilities. We did this to solve the problem of high unemployment rates of people with disabilities, with marginal improvements since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. So, why is it that there has been so little improvement?

read more

The Specialists Guild


The Specialists Guild provides software and product testing, graphic design and data entry services at competitive rates when compared to off-shored projects. The TSG team is in the same time zone, speaks the same language, and is available to come to your site if needed. Your company’s proprietary and sensitive data will never leave the United States. Lastly, but not least, your project helps Americans with disabilities to work with dignity.

Our Services:

  • Functional Testing – does your product, web site or app work as intended?
  • Usability Testing – do people visiting your web site, or using your app or device, find it intuitive and easy to use?
  • Regression Testing – have updates or changes impacted the function of your device, app or site?
  • Compatibility Testing – is your web site or app compatible with different web browsers, operating systems and hardware devices?
  • Test Case and Test Script Development – our team can create the test cases and scripts for future testing

Our testers are individuals on the Autism Spectrum who fundamentally enjoy software testing, thriving on what some see as tedious tasks. They have attention to detail, precision, focus, and strong technical skills. Our teams are trained and led by managers with years of experience in the high tech industry. Our managers will work with you to clearly define the scope of work, serve as the primary interface to your staff, and lead the team through deliverables and to completion. TSG can work within your existing processes, using your specifications, use cases or documentation, and deliver the results in a format of your choosing.

Email: info@specialistsguild.org
Website: http://specialistsguild.org/

U.S. Department of Labor’s ODEP

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) was authorized by Congress in the Department of Labor’s FY 2001 appropriation. Recognizing the need for a national policy to ensure that people with disabilities are fully integrated into the 21st Century workforce, the Secretary of Labor delegated authority and assigned responsibility to the Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy. ODEP is a sub-cabinet level policy agency in the Department of Labor.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides national leadership by developing and influencing disability employment-related policies and practices affecting an increase in the employment of people with disabilities.

Website: http://www.dol.gov/odep/

Untapped Talent | A guide to employing people with Autism

Research by The National Autistic Society indicates that there are currently just 15% of adults with autism in full time employment. This compares with around 31% for all disabled people in full-time employment and 57% for non disabled people of working age in full time employment in Great Britain. Given the many talents and skills that adults with autism can bring to a business I am determined to work with businesses and other partners to increase this figure.

We need to be clear to employers that making business environments more ‘autism friendly’ is not about meeting corporate social responsibility objectives, but about tapping into and seeking out the most talented individuals for a role. That is why I am delighted that a range of employers and organisations have worked with The National Autistic Society and Department for Work and Pensions to produce this leaflet.

see PDF: Untapped Talent – A guide to employing peope with autism

Washington State Business Leadership Network

An organization of business, employers, and community partners who support and educate other business to recruit, hire, retain, promote, and increase customer services for people with disabilities.

Contact: Karen Walter, CEO
Phone: (206) 427-7675
Email: karenwalters@wsbln.org
Website: http://www.wsbln.org