Intensive training substantially increases the employment rate for young adults with autism according to a new study. The unemployment rate for adults with autism is around 80 percent as reported by the Autism Society of America. In this study, young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 achieved an 87% employment rate after completing a program called “Project Search with Autism Supports.”
The study, conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University, looked at young adults with autism who completed an intensive internship training at partner hospitals. Researchers found “the employment outcomes for youth in the treatment group were much higher in non-traditional jobs with higher than minimum wage incomes than for youth in the control condition. Specifically, 21 out of 24 (87.5 %) treatment group participants acquired employment while 1 of 16 (6.25 %) of control group participants acquired employment.”
Study participants worked in areas including “cardiac care, wellness, ambulatory surgery and pediatric intensive care units.” The participants worked between 20 and 40 hours per week and received higher rates than minimum wage. “This is the first study of its kind to demonstrate the skills and abilities youth with ASD have and the success they can experience at work,” said Paul H. Wehman, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study according to Medical Xpress. The researchers also found that young adults with ASD needed less support as they gained experience in their positions.
Project Search is an international model that focuses on getting employment for “young adults with a variety of developmental disabilities”. Participants work in a business to learn marketable job skills. More information on Project Search is available on its website.
For adults with autism who are looking for employment, several resources are available. Autism Speaks has an “Employment Tool Kit” which you can download. Easter Seals assists adults with autism who are looking for jobs as well as offering support to employers. The Autism Society of America has several articles with information for jobseekers with autism.
The Study, “Competitive Employment for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Early Results from a Randomized Clinical Trial”, is published in the “Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders”.
“Study shows job training results in competitive employment for youth with autism” on Medical Xpress.
“Competitive Employment for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Early Results from a Randomized Clinical Trial” on Springer Link.
“VCU Study: Job Training Improves Employment Chances For Youth With Autism” on Health Canal.