Persons with Disabilities: An Untapped Pool of Skills
If I could have a page for every response I've received from each person/company I've approached about having of Adults with Autism under their employ, I'd have enough pages to compile a book entitled "Hiring Adults with Autism: 100 Ways To Turn Them Down."
The day Unilab Foundation came over to talk about Project Inclusion, was the day I said to myself, “Now, here’s something that would actually have a greater chance of breaking through, someone in a position to make a bigger impact.”
For years, I have approached many companies and entrepreneurs for possible placement. If I could have a page for every response I’ve received from each person/company I’ve approached about having of Adults with Autism under their employ, I’d have enough pages to compile a book entitled “Hiring Adults with Autism: 100 Ways To Turn Them Down.” Hence, it was quite refreshing to have been the one approached this time for possible hire, and not the other way around.
Needless to say, I was more than willing to be part of the project. I wanted it clear from the start however, that the project would not involve job dole outs. I have always been keen on one thing when it gets to hire our graduates. It was crucial to be clear that they would be hired, not because they DO NOT HAVE A JOB, but because they CAN DO THE JOB!
Many years ago, the demand was finding schools that would provide vocational training for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Now, the challenge is to find companies wherein our students could continue to develop and expand their learning environment. Unilab Foundation’s Project Inclusion was a sign of hope that we are closer to full integration.
My mission is to make sure that the bridge be strengthened and expanded. Perhaps, a job-matching service for persons with neurodevelopmental and behavioral disabilities can be formed to pave the way for this mission.
And who knows, maybe someday with all the advocates coming together, there will soon be a book entitled “Improve Your Manpower: 100 Reasons To Hire Someone with Autism.”
Maria Rosario Joaquin, or Teacher Bunny, is the President and Programs & Training Director of Shine Special Education Center, Inc. She is one of the valuable partners and staunch supporters of Project Inclusion.