Job fair helps people on the autism spectrum with career opportunities

News source from CTV News

A job fair for people on the autism spectrum was held in Montreal on Monday, one of the many events taking place during Autism Awareness Month.

The fair hopes to tackle a growing problem of unemployment among people who have the disorder: A 2012 Canadian survey on disability found 86% of adults on the spectrum are unemployed.

“It’s not easy. It’s very stressful,” said Philippe Paré-Langevin, a mathematics student at McGill University who hopes to find a job in his field of study.

“Banks they’ll specialize in mutual funds, actuarial business, which is more what I’m oriented towards,” said Paré-Langevin, who lives with the disorder that can make social interactions and communication more difficult.

The Spectrum Works Job Fair aimed to make the process of finding a job a little easier: many companies set up shop and interviewed participants.

“We have jobs from people in the back who do laundry because they’re not comfortable enough to be socially out there. And then we also have Ph.D. degrees who want to be engineers or IT consultants. We have a huge, wide range of jobs,” explained Spectrum Works organizer Saman Aujla.

Some leading academics say employing individuals on the autism spectrum can help companies succeed because they bring diversity and different ways of thinking into the workplace that can boost creativity, engagement and productivity.

It’s on companies to change their approach, said Krista Leitham of Autism Speaks Canada.

“The employer also has to know how to best provide the guidance, the opportunities, and to make sure internally in the company that there is staff who are hired and understands what needs of the person on the spectrum are and how to best get their abilities to shine,” she said.

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