“I decided that I was going to keep an open mind to where this program would take me. I also gave everything recommended to me my best effort.”

Cole joined the Launch + Skills program in January, 2019.  He described himself as having struggled socially and never really understanding people, which has led to social anxiety and difficulty creating meaningful relationships. Prior to starting the program, Cole had recently graduated from SAIT with a software development diploma but had no idea how or where to begin the job search process. He tried all the public programs available to him, applying for jobs over and over without even a return phone call. Follow-ups were almost impossible because of his social anxiety.

Not surprisingly, Cole’s goals coming into the program were to get support with finding a job, making connections to other people in similar life circumstances, and to have opportunities to practice and develop his social skills.

Through his participation in Launch + Skills, Cole got connected with tons of resources for job searching. Additionally, he was able to develop skills for helping out around the house like cooking and shopping.

“The Launch + Skills program was great! It helped me find community resources I hadn’t heard of like Prospect, a program for all individuals that face barriers entering the workforce. It also eventually led to my internship at auticon, earning money and valuable experience.”

The cafes have also been helpful in allowing Cole to place himself in social situations. The activities were things he wouldn’t have done by himself, or that he would have needed people in his life to do them with. He decided from day one to go to as many cafes as possible.

One of the key external contributors to Cole’s current success is the fact that auticon is a super understanding employer that employs exclusively autistic consultants. They help him with employment skills and an opportunity to gain experience. They also provide constant check-ins to ensure lower stress in the workplace.

“My family is also very supportive and understanding of my situation, and were slow to rush me with the job search, giving me space, etc. I am not required to pay rent while in my internship and while job searching”.

In the Launch + Skills program, Cole showed-up and contributed towards his goals which has yielded him great results. He’s an amazing cook and was really great to work with because of his easy going personality. Watching him grow and excel has been a pleasure for his Skills Coaches because he is one of many participants to demonstrate that consistently taking steps forward can lead to success in achieving goals.

“The only advice I could give is to accept help from anywhere you can get it. I could have never taken the Launch + Skills program without help from my mom. In turn, I would never have this internship.”

Cole has been working with auticon since May and began a paid internship with them in July, 2019. In his free time, he likes to play video games and makes pen turning as a hobby to relax. Cole also has some fun doing personal programming projects on the side.

“I am in much better place because of this program, as I have an internship and money coming in and a team at work that are always asking for my help and input. I continue to go to as many Launch + Skills cafes as possible, although this is harder with my time taken up“.

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