A Hire Autism Job Seeker Finds Success
March 07, 2023
By: Organization for Autism Research
Categories: Employment, OAR News, Self-Advocacy
Valerie Thompson, a later diagnosed autistic individual, found herself going to interviews and receiving positive feedback but not a final offer despite considerable tech industry experience. She turned to Hire Autism for help and was paired with Angela Herbert, a Hire Autism navigator.
Over several weeks, the pair met virtually to discuss Thompson’s job search, update her resume, discuss potential accommodations, and explore education and employment opportunities.
“Working with Angela helped because I was so upset about things and at a point where I just felt like the job search was a whole new world to me. She helped me get started, and it was nice to have someone that was an accountability partner I could meet with each week and give me ideas of things to try,” said Thompson.
Herbert recommended Melwood’s abilIT 14-week IT technical and professional training program. Thompson applied and was accepted to the program, thrilled to have a remote opportunity that allowed her to learn more about her career.
While participating in the abilIT program, Thompson and Herbert continued working together to finalize her materials. They also talked about potential accommodations she might need to be successful on the job and how to discuss those accommodations with employers. With these tools in place and after completing the abiliT program, Thompson confidently went into the interview process. Her efforts and the help she got from Herbert paid off when she was offered a position as a data analyst with Paramount Plus, Nickelodeon.
Reflecting on their time together, Herbert shared, “It was a wonderful experience getting to work with Valerie and seeing her further develop the necessary skills. I appreciated her willingness to collaborate and create a plan. I’m thrilled for Valerie and proud of what she has accomplished.”
“I don’t think I would have found this position if I hadn’t done this program or reached out,” said Thompson about Herbert’s assistance. “I wish more people knew about Hire Autism so they could get help no matter where they are in their career.”
Now, with a new career that motivates her daily, Thompson pays it forward and spends her free time mentoring others. “I have been in tech for many years, and I want to give back to people who are just starting their careers, sending them links and other things I have learned.”
Are you or someone you know interested in helping autistic adults look for and find jobs? Apply for our April 2023 cohort. Applications will be accepted until Friday, April 7, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. ET. If you have questions about the Navigator Program or want to learn more, contact Brittany Spence.