Employment and Community

With the goal of providing teenagers and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) an opportunity to discover their potential in the workplace, The See Things My Way (STMW) Centre for Innovation in Autism & Intellectual Disabilities (CIAID) is proud to be one of twelve organizations across Canada to offer Worktopia programs. 

Worktopia is a large national project designed to improve the employment futures of youth and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The project 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 with a commitment of $11.4 million over 4 years to set-up, implement and evaluate a network of vocation training programs in five regions across Canada. The Worktopia programs being rolled out across the country aim to improve employment readiness and enhance the employment skills of individuals with ASD as they prepare for future employment. Worktopia’s pre-employment programs are carefully designed to support youth with ASD prepare for sustainable employment leading to achieving economic independence. Worktopia programs also provide a golden opportunity for community organizations to raise awareness and learn more about the benefits of inclusive hiring by recognizing the strengths and capabilities of individuals with ASD, as well as the positive impact of their involvement in the workplace. A link to the Worktopia website and the programs currently offered can be found at www.worktopia.ca.

in 2017 and 2018, Worktopia offered three distinct employment-preparedness programs for individuals with ASD between the ages of 15 to 29: 

  • CommunityWorks Canada®
  • EmploymentWorks Canada
  • SchoolWorks Canada

Over the course of the years 2017 and 2018, the Centre for Innovation STMW partnered with Worktopia to deliver four editions of EmploymentWorks Canada in English and French, as well as two editions of CommunityWorks Canada® in English. Both programs incorporate peer mentor support while providing teens with ASD the opportunity to practice and build social skills in a nurturing and accepting environment. With the peer mentor’s help, participants learn to develop the soft skills required for employment success, such as teamwork, communicating needs, asking questions, time management and conflict resolution. 

Read our blog post about Worktopia programs delivered in Québec.

Stay tuned: Phase 2 of the Worktopia Project will launch in Spring 2019 at the Miriam Foundation!