The end of schooling signifies the beginning of employment for most of us. Earning a paycheck allows us to support ourselves, consume goods and services that interest us, and live life with a certain sense of freedom that a consistent paycheck brings. Gainful employment also enables us to begin and nurture friendships and participate within our own community. Opportunities to become a contributing member of society should be available for individuals with disabilities as well. For many individuals with autism, a mandated transition-focused education does not produce favorable outcomes. These individuals must rely on family, friends, and/or government programs in order to live. Individuals with autism that do obtain employment work limited hours and earn less than those with other disabilities (Lugas, 2010).
The Foundation for Autism Training and Education (FATE) remains committed to helping individuals with autism achieve the highest level of independence within their community. We share in the growing interest in improving vocational rehabilitation and employment outcomes for individuals with autism and believe that the network of supported employment options should be expanded. Many members of FATE’s team have been personally affected by autism. As parents, our greatest worry is about what will happen when we are gone. We ponder the same questions – Will he have a job? Where will she live? Who will take care of him?
FATE is pleased to announce the development of Project PAYCHECK, an initiative designed to address unemployment, independence, and long-term care. Although in its embryonic stage, our goal is to create a training facility and demonstration site that showcases excellence in employment, vocational training, and small business development.
We plan to accomplish our mission by focusing on: maximizing an individual’s potential, happiness, and overall quality of life; creating a work environment that is enjoyable, productive, and fosters meaningful social interactions; and building strong community ties with the creation of businesses and sites that are more likely to be replicated and patronized. Through the volunteering efforts of many, Project PAYCHECK will:
- CREATE innovative employment opportunities for individuals with autism.
- PROVIDE rigorous staff training that produces well-trained individuals capable of working with young adults with autism.
- TEACH necessary skills through intensive instruction using the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA).
- INSPIRE and MOTIVATE others to replicate home/site-based businesses that train and employ individuals with autism.
- OFFER evidence-based training and skilled guidance to assist parents, educators, entrepreneurs, and business owners with successful start-up of home/site-based businesses.
If you are a parent, business owner, community leader, educator, or entrepreneur interested in joining FATE in this important initiative, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lugas, J. (2010). Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age
Youth with Autism and Other Disabilities. Data Note, Number 26. Institute for