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Helping Adults with Autism Find Employment

Are you an adult with autism who is struggling to find a job? Or maybe you know someone – a friend or family member with developmental disabilities who really wants to work but can’t find an employer willing to hire them. This isn’t an unusual situation. According to the national advocacy organization, Autism Speaks, “National data indicates that the vast majority of adults with autism are either unemployed or underemployed, with estimates ranging as high as 90%.” One of the biggest issues hampering employment for this population is their need to learn proper social behavior in the workplace – skills that most of the mainstream population can take for granted, such as self-care, self-advocacy, punctuality and regular attendance.

Fortunately, there are many organizations and programs set up by nonprofits and government agencies that teach autistic adults these important life skills and prepare them for success. Organizations like the State of California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) provide job coaching and job placement for those who need it. In addition, many cities also offer assistance to adults with disabilities through their workforce training programs which include social skills training and on-site job coaching.

Another organization, Inland Regional Center (IRC), is one of the larger nonprofit agencies and a leader in servicing people with autism and other disabilities. IRC, as part of a statewide network of regional centers established by the state of California, provides case management and service coordination for more than 35,000 consumers in Riverside and San Bernardino counties; their very effective programs, run by community-service providers, job-train clients in order for them to find gainful employment.

A new popular IRC job-training program, offered by Temecula-based nonprofit JDS Creative Academy (JDSCA), provides video production instruction to developmentally disabled clients. Their digital creative arts program imparts hands-on training in a working studio environment, teaching collaboration, soft skills, technical skills, logistics and more through visual, performing and digital arts. The program’s purpose is to produce and distribute a feature-style newscast for Riverside County. The show, Spectrum of Innovation, streams monthly and is attracting a growing number of viewers.

JDSCA’s job training program started just nine months ago and is already almost at capacity, which shows the need for this type of job-training. Their clients’ work can be seen on the website spectrumofinnovation.org and on their YouTube Channel, SOI News & Information Spectrum of Innovation

JDS Creative Academy (JDSCA), is a nonprofit 501c3 organization in Temecula, servicing the entire Temecula Valley and surrounding regions with a mission to inspire, educate, and enhance achievement in workforce development by providing job skills and hands-on training in the visual, performing and digital arts. JDSCA works with foster and at-risk youth, autistic young adults, and mainstream populations, creating cross-collaborative enrichment, workforce training, and a creative environment. www.jdscreativeacademy.org 951-296-6715