We believe that people with autism can be integrated into the workforce through education and opportunity. Our vision is to change society’s perception of how corporations can seamlessly employ and integrate people with autism into their workplace.
Raise awareness that individuals with autism can be valuable productive employees
Create a scalable program that can be fitted to companies to start their integration of people with autism into their workforce
Increase employment for individuals with autism
Directly assist high schools and colleges with the transition of people with autism into the workforce
In 2011, founder Ann Marie Sullivan saw first-hand that individuals with autism have the ability to work. After learning that 80% of individuals with autism were unemployed and hearing the amazing stories of how having a job changed their lives, Ann Marie set out on a mission to change that… and Spectrum Works was conceived. The initial idea was to start financially self-sustaining social enterprises to train and employ individuals with autism, with the first focused on screen printing.
The vision and mission quickly evolved after we co-located in Green Distribution, one of the largest screen-printing companies on the East Coast. We saw that a neuro-diverse workforce not only benefited individuals with autism, it also had a positive impact on the employees at Green Distribution. With the help of the owner, Robert Butters, we formulated a new model to help companies build inclusive neuro-diverse workforces to help solve the unemployment crisis for individuals with autism.
Spectrum Works unique approach educates companies that individuals with autism can be valuable productive workers, provides various programs to help companies build inclusive workforces, and implements programs to assist high schools and universities create job training programs for individuals with autism. Our model helps young adults with autism live up to their potential for stable, successful, economically self-sufficient lives and, at the same time, helps companies create neuro-diverse workforces. Since 2013, over one hundred individuals have been through the program, and we are now in a position to take the model nationwide.
We are motivated every day by our students and graduates - our story is their story. Our happiest moments are seeing their self-confidence improve, their skills increase, their friendships deepen, their acceptance into college, and when they ultimately become employed.
FACTS & STATISTICS ABOUT AUTISM & EMPLOYMENT
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can
cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
1 in 36 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Approximately 500,000 youth with Autism will reach adulthood within the next decade in the U.S.A.
85% of adults with Autism are unemployed, despite the desire to find employment.
44% of individuals with Autism
have intellectual abilities that are average or above average.
All individuals with Autism have social communication challenges, but these vary and some are highly verbal.
Adults diagnosed with Autism can maintain consistent hours worked per week for significant periods of time.
(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2023)
(Prevalence and Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years, 2016)
(Language and Communication in Autism, 2005)
(Autism Speaks, 2012)
(United Nations, World Autism Day, 2015)
(Costs and Benefits of Employing and Adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A Systematic Review, 2015)