A program called SEARCH, based in Glasgow, Scotland, is assisting individuals with disorders- like autism- ease into the workforce.
The program allows young adults questions local employers about what they look for in a candidate; the employer also offers them tailored advice and cover letter suggestions.
According to Scotland’s National Autistic Society, one in three young adults with autism (ages 16-24) are not employed or pursuing higher education.
Brian Sweeney, the retired chief officer of Strathclyde Fire & Rescue and SEARCH advocate, says so far the autistic individuals are eager to receive feedback and employers are beginning to consider hiring them.
“I have no doubt that it will work, it works already,” Sweeney says. “What is needed now is for local industry and local businesses to recognize both the importance and the benefits of SEARCH.
The initiative was designed to breakdown barriers between employers and individuals with disabilities.
“Our young people, these young people, deserve nothing less.” Sweeney says. “Not charity, just a chance, a chance to prove themselves as good as, if not better than any in the jobs marketplace.”
Locally in New York, ICare4Autism, an affiliate non-profit organization of Shema Kolainu, is developing several similar workforce initiatives to dissolve these boundaries. This is accomplished in part through training and partnering with local businesses like Walgreens. More information on these initiatives is available here: http://www.icare4autism.org/