Autism Employment: A Work in Progress

Elizabeth walks into the manager’s office. This the hardest interview she will encounter, because it’s the “real world” – it’s for the career of her dreams. High school and college wasn’t quite this difficult. Elizabeth would get sweaty palms before an exam, like many other of her peers, but this – this was different. If only the manager could look past her autism and see one other thing: her passion.

Elizabeth’s story is like many others on the spectrum. Many adults with autism are eager to find work. And not just any work, but something they love to do day in and day out. For years, large corporations, like Microsoft, and small companies employ people on the spectrum – and it’s the greatest thing we’ve seen. In fact, these companies say that “unemployed and underemployed adults with autism represent not just a societal problem, but an untapped labor force with unique potential.”

Programs around the country are trying to address the gap between these eager workers and companies by helping to train job candidates or retool hiring processes. Despite these efforts, unemployment rates don’t seem to be improving much at all. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t track adults with autism separately, but program efforts have yet to make a huge impact.

Although there hasn’t been much improvement, Debra Solomon, autism life and career coach, is more optimistic than ever. She helps young adults with autism and other learning disabilities identify their strengths and weaknesses to help find a job that best fits them! For more information about Debra Solomon’s coaching practice, visit her on the web.