Yes we can! SAAAC’S TEAM Employment Assistance Program

Posted on: September 11th, 2014 by SAAAC No Comments

According to Stats Canada, 43.1% of adults with special needs are unemployed in Canada. A Health report from United States points out that individuals with ASD are 50% more likely to be unemployed than their peers with other special needs.

These discouraging stats were the primary motivation for SAAAC to create TEAM (Teaching to Employ Adolescent Minds) which is an Employment Assistance Program. Our TEAM Program is a 24 week program that will provide employment assistance to 12 young adults living with autism.This exciting program is powered by Opportunities Fund Enhanced Employment Assistance Services funded by the federal government.

Collage of the young adults with autism part of TEAM

Training to Employ Adolescent Minds (TEAM)

The project will operate on a continuous intake model and will include the following phases:

Pre-Employment Workshops – 5 weeks

Pre-Employment Workshops will include topics such as: Organizational Skills, Social Skills, Emotional Regulation, Conflict Resolution, Stress Management, Interpersonal Communication Skills, Interview Skills, etc. Additional workshop topics will be added depending on participant need.

Supported Job Search and Job Development – 5 weeks (Concurrent to Pre-Employment Workshops)

Supported Job Search and one-on-one Job Development will be provided in order to assist participants in finding work placements or employment. The participants will be supported as they seek prospective employers, tailor resumes/cover letters, attend interviews and to identify and overcome barriers to employment.

Job Coaching – 4 weeks

Job coaching assistance will be provided by SAAAC to ensure our participants are made comfortable at their place of employment and understand and perform their duties as required. The job coach will be slowly faded out in order to ensure the participant reaches independence at their new work place.

Independent Work Placement – 4 weeks

Participants will attend a job placement on an average of 10-24 hours per week

Calling Local Businesses

We kindly request local businesses and corporations who are interested in creating a more inclusive, open and accommodating workplace contact us for possible placements. We want to stress that our students are not looking for charity, but rather an opportunity to prove that they can be productive and contribute to society. Often individuals with special needs bring certain specialized skills. For example some of our students are incredibly punctual, not wanting to upset their careful routines, while others are incredibly structured, always paying close attention to detail. We also want to let businesses know that they do not need to be autism experts.We will provide you with job coaches who will support the participants you hire and our job coaches will there when businesses need any questions or assistance.

For any businesses who are willing to partner with us for this very ambitious initiative, we will be willing to prominently recognize you at our annual Radiant Night Gala (attended by 1200 people) and be featured at our annual donor appreciation dinner, Bridges. At SAAAC we believe the best way to serve individuals with autism is to change facets of our communities in order to accommodate and encourage. Local businesses are very much part of this crucial process.

By providing job opportunities to the young men and women of our program, local businesses will be the bridges for these young adults to make journey to adulthood and have a chance of leading independent lives.

If you are interest in partnering with us, please contact

Bharathy Vivekanantham

Employment Assistance Coordinator