Assessment and Employment Referral
Among the most pressing and common questions we hear from autistic adults and their families are: What is the right job for me? What talents do I have that might not be apparent on the surface? What supports will I need to be successful in the workplace?
A driving motivation for the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation is to help individuals answer these questions, and to help our employment partners learn how to fully utilize the capabilities of autistic employees — the “autism advantage” — by recruiting and optimally employing autistic individuals with educational levels ranging from high school to college and beyond.
If you are an autistic adult looking to hire a job coach, we recommend you contact Alan Cohen. Cohen is an Orthotist with the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Department of Prosthetics and Orthotics at Vanderbilt. Prior to moving to Nashville, he worked at the VA in Houston, TX in the same capacity and before that with Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. During his time in Raleigh, he also worked with the Autism Society of NC as an Employment Support Professional. We have attached a document which provides a description of the services Alan can potentially provide in collaboration with the Frist Center. Please feel free to contact Alan Cohen if you have any questions you would like to discuss over the phone or in person.
Beginning June of 2018, we partnered with Currey Ingram Academy and Specialisterne to develop a month-long pre-employment workshop for high-schoolers and young adults aged 15-20 on the spectrum.
Called the Workforce Readiness and Preparation (WRaP) workshop for students with autism, this four-week course is built upon the development methodology used by Specialisterne to assess, train, and integrate their autistic employees for more than ten years.
The first WRaP workshop took place at Currey Ingram Academy, and we hope to expand it in future years with a similar project for college-aged students.
Employment Assessment and Referral Program
The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation plans to develop an Employment Assessment and Referral program at Vanderbilt University. Using the new psychometric tools and technologies being researched and developed by our team of scientists and engineers, the Employment Assessment and Referral program will provide individuals with quantitative measures of cognitive abilities that may be overlooked by IQ tests and other traditional assessments, as well as an overall profile of the individual’s likely strengths and challenges in the employment context. Finally, the Employment Assessment and Referral program will be able to connect individuals with hiring opportunities through our employment partners in the Nashville Model, provide access to assistive technologies designed to help with the transition to work and independence, and work with employers to provide management trainings and recommended workplace accommodations. It is our aim to have a pilot Employment Assessment and Referral program in place within the next two years.
As we learn of more resources to help in finding employment for those on the spectrum, we will update our site to reflect these resources.
Microsoft is committed to being inclusive of people with disabilities, including neurodiversity (with an Autism Hiring Program), and asks that anyone interested may learn more and apply on this website. They also have an Autism Employer Round-table Job Listing Site.
The Organization for Autism Research has created a collection of resources for autistic adults who are job-hunting. You can access those via their website, at this link.