Partners in Autism Work to Bring Clients, Businesses Together

Diversity within a workforce is an asset many businesses feel they don’t have the time, knowledge, or resources to invest in. Businesses often miss out on qualified individuals with disabilities who could enrich their teams because they are unaware of the simple steps they could take to employ these valuable individuals.

This is where Partners in Autism comes in.

Partners in Autism Employment Services works to bring together clients of all abilities and local businesses so that both can benefit. Partners’ Employment Specialists get to know the business, their policies, and procedures.

Hiring individuals with disabilities is not just a matter of social ethics but also a strategic decision that can positively impact a company. Their unique perspectives, problem-solving abilities, resilient dedication, and diverse skill sets contribute to a more innovative work environment.

Whenever a group has a wider range of lived experiences, they are better equipped to identify both challenges and opportunities and then develop solutions. Beyond fostering innovation, hiring individuals with disabilities also builds a foundation for an inclusive, equitable work environment in which all people can feel valued and heard. Diversity within a company, especially when at all levels within a company, creates a positive feedback loop in which the needs of all individuals are more likely to be noticed and supported.

When individuals with disabilities have a seat at the table with decision-making power, they can acutely identify and advocate for ways to increase accessibility. They can demonstrate first-hand the value that individuals with a diverse array of abilities can bring to a company and thus increase acceptance through personal connection.

Every person should have the opportunity to explore and acquire jobs that fit their skills and interests. When an individual is employed in the community, they can achieve greater independence, build wealth, and develop robust self-esteem.

Improving employment for people with disabilities and other marginalized groups requires continuous improvement and education. This is best done by listening to the voices of those who know their needs and their potential directly.

Partners in Autism serves individuals with all types of disabilities, not just autistic individuals, and is committed to enhancing the lives of diverse individuals by providing compassionate, client-directed services and supporting them as integral members of our community.

Partners’ Employment Specialists open the doors to opportunity by learning about each client’s abilities and interests and then providing structure and guidance for refining those abilities. As skills become talents, Employment Specialists connect each client to workplace opportunities by working one-on-one with clients to build resumes, participate in mock interviews, develop soft job skills and practice self-advocacy skills.

As they do this, they stay in tune with their client to make sure that the opportunities they are pursuing are indeed a good fit and are meaningful to the client.

Many companies that Partners works with say that they would like this type of diversity training but have never had an opportunity to obtain it. Partners’ Employment Specialists assist with diversity training and help employers shape a more inclusive environment for all individuals.

They help employers identify practices that would be universally beneficial to all employees such as sharing agendas for meetings in advance or using ergonomic furniture and anti-glare screens.

They help businesses spot ways in which their standard policies may be unnecessarily restrictive. For example, it may be a standard policy that employees should not wear headphones while stocking shelves, but there may be a variety of reasons why employees would benefit from wearing noise-canceling headphones, ambient sound headphones or other types. Various types of exceptions or changes to the policy can be made. This enables a wider range of individuals to be successful in that role.

Employment Specialists also help businesses review their hiring processes. They provide feedback on tasks that can be flexible within or between different job positions. This allows employees to specialize in the tasks they most excel at, benefiting the business as a whole.

Employment Specialists show businesses how they can make spaces more accommodating. This can involve steps as simple as designating a quiet area where employees can take a break when feeling overstimulated. For more significant space accommodations, Employment Specialists educate businesses about ways to finance assistive technology or accessibility infrastructure and then help them pursue that funding.

In terms of directly bringing clients and businesses together, Partners’ Employment Specialists serve as advocates for their clients and businesses as resources. “We love to have one of our employment specialists attend the interview with the client, start that connection with the business… We are an added resource to help you better understand the value that the person is bringing,” Patience Ncube, Director of Employment Services said.

As they work alongside their clients in direct connection with businesses, Employment Specialists always follow their clients’ wishes when disclosing or not disclosing specific diagnoses to potential employers.

They also work to redirect conversations so that the client is directly included. Ncube says that those interactions and conversations along with the diversity training Employment Specialists provide help to “humanize people with disabilities, and once we have conversations with employers, they understand the value those people bring.”

To learn more about how your business could benefit from obtaining current or future diversity, go to PartersinAutism.com/employmentservices.

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