It’s a shocking fact that over 80% of adults with autism in British Columbia are either unemployed or stuck in jobs that don’t make the most of their unique talents and skills. This represents a vast untapped talent pool for the provincial economy as well as a group of people who have spent too long on the sidelines of society.
However, the steps needed to get a person with autism out of unemployment and into the workplace can be tricky given the nature of the condition. The hiring process for most organizations heavily favors neurotypical employees, which is why organizations like Orbital exist to help adults with autism find the right job that meets their skills and interests. Orbital works with individuals with ASD who are interested in gaining meaningful employment in 3 main ways to help them get into the workplace:
- Meet and greet – the first step in the employment process is to understand the person with autism’s motivation for employment and what they perceive their skills and interests to be. It’s been seen time and again that employees on the spectrum are likely to stick at jobs and be happier in positions that match their areas of focus and interest, and they tend to be more motivated to achieve mastery in these areas. This meet and greet process will also give Orbital a snapshot into the workplace attributes and attitudes that the potential employee already possesses.
- Skills analysis – once the meet and greet has given a basic direction to the employment process, Orbital then uses a variety of assessment tools to analyze the individual’s skills and areas for growth. These cover everything from logical reasoning to the ability to deal with stress and give a more detailed picture of the individual which will help Orbital find the right organization. Orbital also offers assessment in more technical areas such as IT so that potential employers know what skills their employee will be entering with. This additional assessment will also help the individual on the spectrum get an idea of their further training needs.
- Training – the final step before applying for new jobs at Orbital for people with autism is to take the Employment Retention Training and Assessment program. This teaches all of the “professional soft skills” necessary to succeed in the workplace, such as conflict resolution, interpersonal relationships and collaboration as part of a team. Orbital also offers technical training programs within specific areas such as technology that offer the opportunity for employees with autism to build their skills before heading into the workplace.
By the time that someone with autism has gone through this intensive preparation program, the dream is that they will be ready to tackle the challenges of the hiring process. Orbital prides themselves of providing support for the entire employment process, and they have years of experience in helping candidates through the application and interview process to help adults with autism find and keep the right job.