Employment and Community
Worktopia: CommunityWorks Canada® (CWC)
CommunityWorks Canada® (CWC) is a federally funded after-school program for teenagers with ASD to gain work experience through volunteer work at a wide range of local community organizations. The program was originally developed in Phoenix, AZ, by the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Centre (SAARC) and is based on ABA-principles to guide participants to build communication and social skills. CommunityWorks Canada® 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 Program. The program incorporates peer-mentors to allow teenagers with ASD to learn in a comfortable environment with a strong support system with the aim of building lasting friendships. Through volunteer experience, participants are encouraged to cultivate potential areas of interest for future employment.
CWC is delivered once weekly for 2.5 hours over 10 weeks at various local organizations. With the support of their peer mentors, participants can practice skills such as time management, problem solving, navigating social and workplace rules, and developing basic job skills.
Some of the soft skills targeted in our CWC program are:
- Organization and planning
- Conflict resolution
- Effective communication
- Grooming and hygiene
Community settings for CWC programs across Canada have included tasks such as packaging food, animal care, preparing meals, completing inventory counts. By giving back to the community, participants gain access to a terrific opportunity to develop and practice social, communication and employment skills in a variety of workplace settings and teams.
Registration is now closed for our CWC programs in Montreal. Thanks to all that have participated!
To learn more, read our blog post about our first edition of CommunityWorks Canada® delivered in Québec. A link to the EmploymentWorks Canada program can be found on the Worktopia Visit our resources page for more opportunities for youth with ASD.