Across the country, the Autism Society and our nationwide network of affiliates share success stories of people with disabilities thriving in the workplace. From engineers to animal caretakers and all career paths in between, employees with autism are embedded into the fabric of small and large businesses across the country. Yet, for every worker with autism who obtained their first real career opportunity, there are two who face barriers toward getting a foot in the door and a slice of the American dream. The United Nations estimates nearly 80 percent of people with autism across the globe are unemployed. We know this to be a staggering statistic by any measure.
Throughout history, this nation has granted opportunities for so many, but somehow, the dream remains just out of reach for those with autism. While employers now are starting to recognize the importance and value of a worker with autism, too many still make inaccurate assumptions about the capacity of these individuals to contribute to an organization’s bottom line. They are labeled as incapable, relegated to tasks not in alignment with professional goals and aspirations and the gap between those living with a disability and those without continues to widen.
Today, the unemployment rate for the overall population is five percent - the lowest it’s been in years. More Americans are employed than ever before. However, the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities is twice that of those without a disability. We know that those who have means and access to resources are so much better off than those with limited resources and access to services. And gainful employment is the key to long term stability and independence.
Let us renew our commitment to our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues impacted by autism. We all have a responsibility to ensure individuals on the spectrum can maximize their quality of life each and every day. It is our duty as a community to help people with autism thrive and contribute to our nation. We must do our part to position these individuals so they can acquire new skills. As we look toward the future, the Autism Society remains deeply committed to improving the quality of life of people with autism and their families.
For more information go to: http://www.autism-society.org/ or http://www.asmonline.org/
# # #