Choosing Competitive Integrated Employment
My name is Lindsey Eaton and I am 27 years old. I have autism. Growing up, I watched many of my family members work competitive paying jobs and I knew I wanted to work. I had the opportunity to participate in the Project
SEARCH program in Arizona at Medtronic. I completed this program and then secured a job. Unfortunately, I experienced a barrier in getting VR services. My counselor told me I would never work. I successfully have held many jobs that allow me to work competitively. My passion has always been something to do with kids within an office setting at a school. In early 2022, my parents reached out to the principal of a local private school. I found out about an opening at Christ Lutheran School to be their Office Assistant part-time. I had my interview and I accepted my job. I started my job in August 2022 and I love my job. I help out with tasks like shredding, copying, delivering lost and
found items to the students in all grades- kindergarten through eighth grade and passing out hot lunches to the students. In an effort to be a team player, I often offer to assist with other tasks if someone asks for help. When I started I received Vocational Rehabilitation services through HOPE Group. My job coach helped me learn my job including how to manage boundaries in relationships with co-workers and how to deal with changes in my schedule as well as helping implement systems like visuals for certain tasks such as how to safely load hot lunches into an oven warmer. Since I started my job, I have grown immensely and have learned many skills including how to deal with changes in my schedule, how to advocate for myself and how to communicate with my supervisor over email professionally. The fact that I have natural supports in place including supportive co-workers who are beyond kind and supportive. They check in with me throughout the day at work. My supervisor and mentor is beyond
supportive and kind and she allows me to ask her any questions I have throughout the day at work both in person and at the end of the day through our daily updates I send her over email. With these natural supports in place, I
was recently able to graduate from Vocational Rehabilitation services. I was originally kind of nervous to graduate from services but I have full confidence moving forward now, and now I have a supportive team of people behind me including my supervisor, job coach, DDD support coordinator and amazing VR counselor. My job has given me a purpose and helped me learn how to be a team player. The two days that I work are often the best days of my life. One thing I would encourage employers looking to hire people with disabilities is to give us a chance to work for your company. We are reliable, dependable and hard-working. We often outlast people without disabilities.
You can follow Lindsey on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/eatonlindsey/
Employment within the community at the same rate of pay as others doing the same job is the first choice.
Learn more about Blaine’s self-employment journey as the owner and operator of Blaine’s on Your Main food truck and how Vocational Rehabilitation Services assisted him in the process of becoming “One Man, One Meal, One Mission.”)
(credit: https://centeronselfemployment.org/resources/videostories/ )
Self Employment is an option for individuals seeking a new or better career.
Path to Employment
For more information, transcripts, and resources visit: adalive.org/episodes/episode-112/
Autistic adults and youth experience barriers to employment. In this informative discussion, discover resources and supports available for autistics looking for employment and employers looking to hire these valuable employees.
(source: ADA Live!)
Finding a job that matches interests, gifts, and talents.
DES showcased Ryder highlighting how he explores his interest in jet skiing showing others of his capabilities and other valuable skills he learns while participating in his interests.
Exploring your interests is an important step to obtaining successful employment.
Listening & Communicating
An exhibition with a partnership between The Opportunity Tree and Scottsdale Art’s Learning & Innovation Program, providing individuals with developmental disabilities to communicate, express and share through art.
Listening to lived experiences and teaching self advocacy are crucial aspects of Employment First.
Employment First in Action
Recognizing & showcasing Arizona’s Employment First doers.
Self Advocate Game Changers
Individuals with lived experiences make the greatest impact of Employment First each day through their advocacy and example of their choice to work in the general workforce showing others it is possible.
Employment First Champions
Individuals whose commitment and tireless dedication have improved Employment First initiatives throughout Arizona by challenging the status quo and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
Gold Seal Community Partners
Community organizations that demonstrate in their actions through funding, advocacy or services their commitment to Employment First and prioritize competitive integrated employment for all Arizonans.
Gabe is a Peer Mentor for the University of Arizona, Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities. More importantly, he is a self advocate that shares his employment story with young adults and their families encouraging them to work. Recently, he was appointed to President Biden’s 2022 Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Susan took the lead in establishing the AZ APSE Chapter and was instrumental in the development of the Employment First executive order signed by Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey in 2017. In 2018, National APSE awarded her the Rebecca McDonald award for State Chapter Leadership. Currently, Susan is the Collaboration Synergist for Diverse Ability Incorporated.
Through their funding of research and trainings, the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council has moved the Employment First need ahead in Arizona by collecting data, collaborating together, funding grants, advancing inclusion and promoting self advocacy meanwhile making Employment First a priority.
Nominate a game changer, champion or gold seal partner: