Since 2007, ASIE has been working with different agencies and collaboratives to improve opportunities for employment for young people with Autism. For years, ASIE heard from parents that many of the adults with Autism were “sitting at home, doing nothing.” In 2015, the Autism Society Inland Empire asked Inland Regional Center for data to show the breakdown of employment opportunities for adults with autism. The results were astounding. We found that the data collection used is antiquated. We also learned that only 23 out 1,009 (2%) adults with autism over the age of 22 years old, had jobs that paid minimum wage or more and that 393 adults (39%) had no programs during the day – they were sitting at home doing nothing. In that same year, the Autism Society of California made a public records request to the California Department of Developmental Services to confirm employment for the entire state to see if the Inland Empire was an isolated case. Unfortunately, the answer was no. For the 104,000 adults in the Regional Center system of with any qualifying disability – only 2% had a job which paid minimum wage or more and 33% of adults had no program.
Changes at the federal and state level now focus on Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE), which is work by a person with a health-related disability within an integrated setting (non-disabled peers) with wages are at least minimum wage or higher and at a rate comparable to non-disabled workers performing the same tasks.
ASIE continues to collaborate and innovate on new programs and new funding sources locally and at the state level. Some of the accomplishments ASIE has contributed to include:
- Advocating for the new Regional Centers tools such as the Paid Internship Programs (PIP) and CIE Bonuses for individuals who have been employed 60 days, 6 months and 1 year.
- ASIE is helping promote best practices for the Inland Empire vendors and potential vendors including customized employment and the the Discovery Process.
- Bringing out national Subject Matter Experts on employment and navigating the new systems including Rick McAllister workshop and an annual Life After High School workshops.
- Continuing to work with Inland Regional Center, Department of Rehabilitation, local colleges, Workforce Development Boards and Business leaders on innovative projects.
“Moving Into the World of Employment” By Cathy Pratt, Ph.D. – https://www.autism-society.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/moving-into-the-world-of-emloyment.pdf