Adults with autism often face high levels of unemployment because of their social and communication challenges. OAR created a new program that aims to help close the gap with virtual support from trained volunteers.
C. Murphy, a college student from southeastern Virginia, recently landed the perfect part-time job thanks to the help of a Hire Autism Navigator. OAR launched its Navigator program, which matches job seekers with autism to mentors with experience in the workplace in 2017.
Murphy’s ultimate dream is to become a librarian; thus, securing a part-time job as a library assistant was the primary goal. After signing on to the Hire Autism site (www.hireautism.org), Murphy requested the help of a navigator and was matched with Kerrianne Morrison. Morrison had previously worked with adults with autism as a graduate researcher and volunteer.
Starting last January, they worked together for a month via email and virtual meetups to polish Murphy’s resume and prepare to complete job applications. They also created a cover letter for the young job seeker that included keywords contained in the job listings.
When Murphy applied for an assistant position at a local library and was invited to an interview, Morrison offered help to prepare for the interview, which paid off. Murphy said they lacked confidence for successful job interviewing. The practice sessions proved to be beneficial by helping Murphy “express what they wanted to say and not be super nervous,” said Morrison.
Murphy was offered the job and began work in mid-March. Even the temporary closure of the library due to the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t diminish Murphy’s enthusiasm. Reflecting on the new position, Murphy said, “I’m glad I have a job where I help provide a public service. I’m excited for the library to open again so I can begin interacting with the community and learning even more about how library services can assist them.”
For her part, Morrison was pleased with the success of Murphy’s job search. She said she knew that the college student would be a perfect fit at the library. [Murphy is] “really passionate about impacting” the local Newport News community.
All OAR resources, including Hire Autism, are free to all. Interested individuals are encouraged to create a profile on Hire Autism’s website where they can apply directly to job opportunities and request assistance with resume or cover letter development or interview practice.