Worktopia – Improving Employment Futures for Individuals with ASD

Worktopia is a federally funded national initiative designed to improve the employment futures of youth and young adults ages 15-29 with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as they transition from high school to independent adulthood. It currently offers three unique employment preparedness training programs enabling individuals to explore their vocational interests in a wide variety of community and workplace settings, while developing the social, communication and job skills necessary for future employment success.

The 4-year initiative is sponsored by The Sinneave Family Foundation and Autism Speaks Canada, and is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The Worktopia programs known as CommunityWorks Canada®, EmploymentWorks Canada and SchoolWorks Canada are currently being offered in various cities across Canada, and to date, service delivery partners have been confirmed in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Whitby, Barrie, Toronto, Halifax and St. John’s.

We are very excited about the potential impact these programs will have on the employment readiness of individuals with ASD, and in creating opportunities for increased community and employer awareness regarding the capabilities and contributions that individuals with ASD bring to the workplace.

For more information, please call (403) 210-5000 or visit www.worktopia.ca.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s
Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

EmploymentWorks Canada – Pilot Program Opens Eyes to Opportunities

The EmploymentWorks Canada pilot program at The Ability Hub in Calgary wrapped up just before the holiday season, with six program participants receiving certificates of achievement for their successful participation in the program.

From September to December, program participants attended twelve structured learning sessions to develop and practice social, communication and basic jobs skills. In addition to the structured learning sessions, they were provided with weekly opportunities to practice the skills learned in a variety of workplace settings. The exposure to different work sites enabled the participants to gain a better understanding of the various roles within an organization, to explore their vocational interests and to acquire a unique personal experience in a job industry they may not have previously considered.

A number of local Community Partners were instrumental to the success of the EmploymentWorks Canada program. Organizations such as Lynnwood Roofing, Boston Pizza, Auto Value, Calgary Flames Limited Partnerships and Goodwill Industries provided participants with a first-hand look at an assortment of jobs and related tasks that helped spark ideas and motivate the participants to develop life goals. Several of our community partners expressed an interest in hiring some of our participants, which is a clear testament to the success of the program.

The next 12-week program offering is currently full (January), however Program Staff are actively recruiting for the Spring session scheduled to commence in April 2016. EmploymentWorks Canada is part of a federally funded initiative called Worktopia. If you are interested in learning more, call 403-210-5000 or visit www.worktopia.ca.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s
Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

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