Employment

Opportunities

Adults with ASD provide a hidden pool of high-potential employees, as well as a growing customer market. Employed adults with ASD show gains in personal functioning and fulfillment - thus lowering costs to families and communities. National and local efforts demonstrate the business benefits of hiring people with ASD. For example, Walgreen’s distribution facility, staffed by employees with autism, consistently meets and exceeds the company’s highest productivity standards.

Jobs that utilize the unique strengths and tendencies of people with ASD offer the best opportunities for success. While individual abilities vary, many people with ASD flourish in jobs which utilize:

  • clear procedures and systems, such as filing, digital imaging, inventory maintenance, library and archive work, computer programming, and assembly line production
  • attention to detail and accuracy, such as data entry, filling orders, technical writing, editing, proofreading, bookkeeping and medical coding
  • analytical skills and logic, such as software testing and research
  • creative thinking and arts
  • independence and solo tasks
  • hyperfocus
  • their natural interests and abilities

Supports to put in place may include:

  • structured settings
  • visual schedules and cues
  • training for staff
  • mentors or job coaches
  • minimize sensory stimulation (e.g., wear noise-blocking headphones)
  • quiet or solitary work environment

Employment Advocacy

Diversity’s Missing Piece (DMP) is an autism employment advocacy steering committee of the Autism Society of McLean County.

DMP consists of local parents and professionals working to widen employment opportunities and supports for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in McLean County, Illinois. DMP was formed in recognition that ASD is often a hidden disability and an overlooked aspect of organizational diversity.

Founded under the name E=mc2 (“Employment = momentum x community collaboration”), DMP seeks to facilitate community collaboration in helping people with cognitive disabilities in McLean County gain momentum - to gain greater access, achievement, recognition, and dignity - towards an improved and fulfilling quality of life.

  • Download our brochure for information about the business benefits of hiring people with autism.
  • Contact ASMC if you would like to schedule a Diversity’s Missing Piece presentation to a local business or organization.

Objectives

DMP welcomes resources and volunteers interested in helping to open opportunities for stable employment for people with ASD in McLean County.

  1. Promote awareness of the strengths and challenges faced by adults with ASD.
    1. Develop or identify advocacy and awareness materials, media, and presentations.
    2. Identify speaking opportunities and speakers for events, organizational meetings, and public education.
  2. Build partnerships with local agencies, businesses, and organizations.
    1. Individuals in McLean County who have ASD may find assistance from local agencies such as: Marcfirst and the Bloomington office -  Illinois Department of Human Services.
  3. Promote employer awareness of existing employment programs and resources and models.
    1. Help local employers connect with resources, information, successful business models and supports for employing people with ASD.
    2. Cultivate employer awareness of the strengths and benefits, needs and accommodations related to employing people with ASD. (See DMP’s “business benefits” brochure.)
    3. Identify job supports to help ASD adults stay successfully employed and profitable, such as model business programs, funding incentives, interview and recruitment alternatives, and mentoring opportunities.
    4. Local agencies, such as Marcfirst, offer supported employment services.
    5. Successful new models of employment for people with autism include:
      1. Supported employement internship models, such as Opportunity COUNTRY at COUNTRY Financial, offer valuable job experience.
      2. Business models that focus on employing people with ASD, using their particular strengths, such asAutonomyWorks and Walgreen’s.

Resources

  • Hire Someone with Autism
  • Job Accommodation Network: JAN is a leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employer how to capitalize on the value and talent people with disabilities bring to the workplace. JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
  • Employees with Disabilities: An Untapped Resource: Senator Richard J. Durbin’s remarks on employing people with disabilities, Illinois Wesleyan University, Aug. 13, 2009