“Autism is a global public health crisis”
“Autistic adults may very well be the most disadvantaged disability group in the American workplace”
"Without gainful and sustained employment,
adults with autism live at or below poverty levels on the welfare system of the state"
"Barriers to Overcome"
1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Every year 50,000 children with autism turn 18
and 80% of these young adults are unemployed.
Over 50% of those employed are “under-employed”; their skills are higher than what their job requires.
Autism in adults costs the US $175 billion per year; more than any other medical condition and greater than the cost of cancer, strokes and heart disease combined.
The high cost is NOT medical, but rather primarily due to loss of productivity and under-employment.
In California alone, costs increase by almost 150% when a child turns 18 years of age. This is also when they fall off the "services cliff" when fewer services are offered, and yet self-advocacy and independence is expected.
"Bridging the Gap"
A steady and competitive income will increase quality of life, reduce mental health issues such as depression, and transition the individual from being dependent on government programs to becoming productive citizens of society.
Empathy and understanding among co-workers will enrich the working environment for everyone; significantly improving the morale of the entire organization.
The introduction of their unique gifts into the corporate culture and the creation of a neurodiverse workplace will improve the productivity and thus improve the corporate bottom line. Makes good business sense!
Finally, the reduction of reliance on government programs and the increase in employment income taxes will directly benefit the growth of the economy.
FOCUS ON EMPLOYMENT
For many autism related organizations finding employment often becomes ‘the final thing to do’ due to the multitude of other service provided thus the appropriate focus and energy may not be dedicated to solving the employment need. The Spectrum Works' primary focus is becoming the subject matter experts in corporate employment for adults with autism. Being a ‘bridge’ organization enables us to scale quicker and serve more individuals.
Majority of autism employment has historically focused on blue collar, non-corporate jobs. Our philosophy is to extend this model to white collar, meaningful corporate jobs. The Spectrum Works believes corporate jobs are an untapped market and the next wave in autism employment. Our goal is to provide the “full spectrum of jobs for people on the spectrum.”
Our approach is unique in that it fully embraces integration. The roles and jobs we pursue in corporations fully integrate the person with autism (neurodiverse) with other neurotypical employees. This philosophy aligns with the autism community’s current thought leadership and advocacy for integration.
Our organization will be akin to a consulting organization, providing a service to corporations and the autism community, as opposed to a traditional non-profit organization. We will start with the corporation first: getting the buy-in to our vision, identifying appropriate roles, and educating the corporation around the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce. Then we will find, screen and train the appropriate autistic adults for the given roles at these corporations.
ECOSYSTEM OF PARTNERS
We acknowledge many other individuals and organizations are much more knowledgeable about autism; its challenges as well as its strengths. Our goal is to develop and leverage relationships across a broad range of people and organizations that will fill the gaps in our offerings. We will outsource many tasks to others who have already established expertise in such areas
A UNIQUE APPROACH
Our approach to addressing autism employment is unique in several aspects: