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LEAD Center Releases Neurodiversity Brief

September 26, 2018

The LEAD Center recently released the brief, Building an Accessible Workforce Development System: Recommendations to American Job Centers on Supporting Autistic People and Others with Disabilities to Promote Successful Employment. This brief discusses actions that American Job Center (AJC) staff and employers can take to make services and workplaces more accessible to autistic people and others with psychosocial, cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities (DD); this brief supports the creation of a skilled neurodiverse workforce.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) emphasizes the role of America’s Job Centers in promoting equal opportunity and increasing access for job seekers with barriers to employment, including people with disabilities.

AJCs are a place in which job seekers can access many employment support services, including assistance to job seekers with disabilities who experience high rates of unemployment and underemployment.

People with psychosocial, cognitive, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities have the potential to become highly successful employees when they receive needed supports and services. The brief includes recommendations for AJCs in promoting the employment of people with disabilities. These recommendations include:

  • Work with employers to help support accommodations for employees with disabilities (e.g., collaborate with organizations from the disability community, use working interviews, advance Customized Employment (CE) for specific AJC customers who can benefit an employer); 
  • Hire people with disabilities as employees; 
  • Partner with self-advocacy and independent living organizations with years of experience supporting people with disabilities in the workforce; 
  • Adapt intake procedures and ensure that trainings and services are fully accessible to people with different disabilities (e.g., offer workshops online and in-person, support people who use augmentative and alternative communication devices, offer one-on-one assistance); and 
  • Ensure that job listings, job fairs, apprenticeships, and internships AJCs promote do not contain language or requirements that unfairly screen out people with psychosocial and developmental disabilities.

Read the Neurodiversity Brief.