College & Employment Experience
When students are ready to work or attend college, we’re ready to help.
Employment for people on the spectrum is a central area of focus at Meristem. All Meristem classes offer skills that are useful for students who seek employment or plan to complete higher education. Students improve their timeliness, reliability, preparedness, and problem solving, as well as effective and appropriate workplace communication, teamwork and self-reflection.
Each year roughly 75,000 young Americans on the autism spectrum turn 18, and feel unsure how to transition to independent adulthood. Unemployment and underemployment for young adults on the spectrum is estimated at 90% nationwide according to a 2013 report in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Our Work Skills class supports students as they master the finer points of resume and application writing, researching work opportunities and course curriculum, and practicing interview techniques.
Students assess themselves and are also assessed by instructors in the area of being employable. They assess punctuality, reliability, professional conduct/expectations and teachability. They also learn about their rights as employees in general as well as their rights as employees with a disability, the rights of employers, workplace safety, self-advocacy in the workplace, managing stress and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
Small groups of students work together to identify community-based needs, develop a plan to offer support, engage the prospective community partner with a proposal and then implement the support plan.
Students may seek paid or unpaid internship positions. Through our Work Skills class, they learn how to identify job opportunities and analyse job posting qualifications, requirements and locations. Instructors support students as they apply, interview, and on-board with an employer.
Meristem supports employers to hire, train, retain and promote students on the spectrum.
On-Campus Social Enterprises
The social enterprises at Meristem expose students to the business world through top-level business professionals where they gain real-world work experience. These include the Bard Bed & Breakfast, Herbal Arts Company, the Meristem Bakery, and the Meristem Café. Read more about these Meristem businesses…