Transitioning from high school to the adult world can be quite daunting for those with Autism. Research shows that young adults with ASD have worse employment outcomes and earn lower wages the first three years after high school than young adults with other disabilities. The gap widens even further when adjusted for conversational and functional skills.
We have strong programs to address these issues and help turn these statistics around.
Workplace Social Skills and Employment Readiness Program
Our employment readiness program serves a diverse group of students with a vast range of interests. Students receive intense workplace social-skills training and are then placed in customized internships or job-shadow opportunities of their choice. Tailored placements such as these provide our students an opportunity to practice their “dream jobs” in a safe setting without the risk of failure or long-term commitment. This approach opens their eyes to the infinite number of employment opportunities available while providing them the social skills and confidence needed to attain and retain employment in an area of interest to them.
For example, we secured an internship at a highly regarded national nonprofit organization for a student who has an interest in social justice and nonprofit work. Prior to joining our program he had been terminated from his job at a local supermarket. He has now found his niche, is extremely happy, exudes confidence and is focused on the next phase of his life, which includes community college and then law school. The nonprofit has expressed interest in hiring him part time while he attends community college. Another student is pursuing a career in animation and will attend a four-year art college. Another has parlayed his interest in music into a successful mobile DJ business.
Our workplace social-skills program currently offers five employment tracks, which include exposure to corporate America, general vocational training, childcare, social justice and technology. Our newest track will include the opening of a UPS store Workforce Learning Lab, providing students the opportunity to practice a range of employment skills from basic customer service to weighing and measuring packages to management and sales.
All of our students articulate their hopes and dreams for the future, and we believe that with careful planning, exposure to targeted training experiences and support, failure is not an option for them.
Please call 310-649-6199 or email us for more information.
Please take a look at our video to see our employment readiness students in action working.
The UPS Store Workforce Training Lab
To help young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) realize their true potential, the Los Angeles Speech & Language Therapy Center has teamed up with UPS to offer real-world job training for young people with autism. The UPS Store Workforce Training Lab will serve as a job training site, where L.A. Speech & Language Therapy Center staff will provide students with a training curriculum tailored to their learning needs. The goal is to prepare young adults for meaningful employment.
The 440-square-foot lab will mimic a UPS store in both appearance and function. With job training materials provided by UPS and adapted by Dr. Wiley and her staff, students will learn a range of employment skills including customer service, packaging, merchandising, and printing. Participants in the summer months will receive $10.50 an hour through a partnership with the City of Los Angeles Hire L.A. Youth Program.
The UPS Store Workforce Training Lab is the first program of its kind nationwide located in a speech clinic. L.A. Speech and Language Therapy Center has been helping children with autism and other speech-related disorders for more than three decades.
Click below to watch CBS coverage of the opening of our UPS Store Workforce Learning Lab.
Summer Employment Readiness Sleepaway Camp
As a complement to our job training program, we started our employment readiness sleepaway programs at a working farm in Clear Lake, California. Given their success, we’ve since developed a beloved two-session sleepaway camp at a farm in Agua Dulce, California. As of Fall 2016, we are fortunate enough to own a 5-acre ranch in Agua Dulce and we’re developing several social skills and employment readiness programs, camps and retreats for the kids. Stay tuned!
“I love this program because it helps me learn more about what to expect in the real world.” ~James T.
“The class helped me learn about the interview process. Watching the role play videos helped me learn and see what people say in interviews.” ~ Angela O.
“I’ve learned how to be more confident for the future.” ~ Jasmine P.
“When I first came to camp I was super shy but after I became a changed person. You taught me good work skills and also how to save money. The trip to the sheep farm was so much fun!” ~Joseph B.
“I have been able to socialize with a lot of my typical peers which helps me feel confident in my future goals. I really can’t put into words how grateful I am… the things you’ve helped me with will give me the opportunities to chase after my dreams.” ~ Daniel D.
“Of all the teachers I’ve encountered in my life, you [Dr. Wiley] are one of my most memorable and supportive and I’m proud to call you teacher. Thank you for giving me purpose.” ~Oscar C.
“[There’s a] change in his independence — getting himself up and out the door to the bus everyday on time! He understands his employability is under his control.” ~Jared’s Parent
“This program is a blessing for my son. He is dreaming and talking about his future. He learned a lot about himself.” ~Jesus’ Parent
“The job interview was the most helpful for my son.”~Oscar’s Parent
“My son learned the value of cohesive teamwork. He gets the concept of working and earning.”~Holly Robinson Peete, Parent /Actress /Philanthropist
Click to read Dr. Wiley’s blog post on the ASHA Leader, A New Twist on Vocational Training.
Dr. Wiley authored a manual on the topic of prevocational training, available through Plural Publishing or by calling 310.649.6199.
A few highlights of our intern program at AEG: