Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Nicholas, David; Mitchell, Wendy; Zulla, Rosslynn; &| Dudley, Carolyn (2019). Perspectives of employers about hiring individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Evaluating a cohort of employers engaged in a job-readiness initiative. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 50 (3), 353-364.
Title:  Perspectives of employers about hiring individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Evaluating a cohort of employers engaged in a job-readiness initiative
Authors:  Nicholas, David; Mitchell, Wendy; Zulla, Rosslynn; &| Dudley, Carolyn
Year:  2019
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3233/JVR-191018
Full text:  https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-vocational-rehabil...    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No

Structured abstract:

Background:  Personal and organizational benefits are incurred when individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are employed. However, employment rates among adults with ASD remain unacceptably low. It appears that inclusive employment requires greater community and employer awareness, and a range of strategies and actions that foster employment opportunity. There is limited research addressing employer experiences and perspectives relative to hiring, supporting and supervising persons with ASD. Further knowledge is needed to better understand employer perspectives, and guide employer capacity for engaging and supporting individuals with ASD in the workplace.
Purpose:  This paper explores the experiences and perspectives of employers who engaged with individuals with ASD in a workplace sampling opportunity. In doing so, results aim to ascertain strategies and barriers to nurturing greater engagement of individuals with ASD in employment.
Data collection and analysis:  Based on secondary review of program evaluation data, survey administration and qualitative interview data were analyzed. Findings identified perspectives of employers who had engaged with youth and young adults with ASD in employment settings. Specifically, the sample was drawn from employers who participated in a 12-week employment preparedness program for youth and young adults with ASD and employers.
Findings:  Findings highlight factors that foster and impede employer engagement and support for youth and young adults with ASD relative to inclusive employment. Employer participation in this job readiness initiative nurtured knowledge gain and pro-inclusion attitudinal shifts and intention to hire individuals with ASD, based on relationship formation and knowledge gain. Employers reported numerous positive experiences and benefits from working with individuals on the autism spectrum. Benefits included workplace productivity, greater recognition of the contributions of individuals with ASD, and improved quality of work which in turn was viewed to improve employer amenity for inclusive hiring. Yet, continued reticence to employ was noted as an ongoing barrier to widespread inclusive hiring of individuals with ASD.
Conclusions:  Generally, employer capacity building and engagement with individuals with ASD appear to have a positive influence on employer intention to inclusively hire. Overall, employers gained awareness about the competence of individuals with ASD in employment settings. Implications include guidance for engaging employers in capacity building in the aim of greater employment opportunity for youth and young adults with ASD.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Interventions:  Supported employment
Vocational rehabilitation
Customized employment
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition