Employment Preparedness

The type of supports that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder need in order to be prepared for a competitive workforce differ greatly from a neurotypical society. Therefore, an increased understanding of the types of employment preparedness needs for individuals with ASD to be adequately prepared for employment is necessary. Research outcomes reveal the unique strengths and challenges for college graduates with ASD related to employment issues as compared to traditional college graduates, but a plan for how college graduates with ASD can be effectively prepared to earn gainful employment does not currently exist. The College Program recognizes the significance of the transition out of college and into the workforce for individuals with ASD. The need exists for practical, useful information to assist students as they transition into more independent adult lives.

To address this transition, The College Program has implemented a plan for the transition to employment through a 3-day intensive workshop held each June. The graphic below represents the core tenants of the Employment Workshop based upon the lack of understanding that college students with ASD have as compared to employers. Participants have the opportunity to learn employment preparedness skills through a variety of lecture and activity based learning activities.

Employment Workshop Activities include:

  • How to prepare resumes and develop job specific cover letters
  • Creating a LinkedIn profile and JobTrax account
  • Understanding the importance of social media
  • Participating in a speed-networking session with Career Services staff
  • Practicing web-based and in-person mock interviews
  • Learning information important to self-advocacy and workplace disclosure
  • Understanding how to request workplace accommodations
  • Learning how to perform sensory scans in real business environments
  • Understanding various employee evaluations
  • Attending an interactive session with a professional panel of local employers who discuss employment expectations

Participants are provided with a binder that is divided into each day’s activities with handouts, presentation slides, worksheets, and additional resources. Following the workshop, participants are provided with an evaluation from program staff in order to recognize their individual strengths and areas of further development as they transition to the workforce. To learn more about participating in the Employment Workshop, please call 304-696-2332.

Click here to access dissertation research on “Understanding Employment Preparedness Needs for College Students with Asperger’s Disorder”