The Worktopia Project, funded in part by the Government of Canada and under the leadership of The Sinneave Family Foundation and Autism Speaks Canada, brought together eleven leading disability service agencies from across the country to deliver employment readiness programs for individuals on the autism spectrum.
Worktopia programs were designed to build skills to improve the odds of employment success. From 2015 to 2019, Worktopia served 961 participants and engaged 328 employers across Canada. Of 279 participants surveyed one year after program completion, 32% were employed and 8% had returned to school.
Leaders from participating agencies came together in Toronto in October 2018, to consider how they could extend their work together at the community and system level to change the odds of employment success. The Worktopia National Employment Network was the result.
The Ecosystem for Employment and Autism
We’ve learned that getting and keeping a job involves many components within one’s social world. It will be important to consider not only the autistic individual but the surrounding “ecosystem”. A shared understanding of this ecosystem will support our collective efforts to drive change in our communities.
Download an overview of the Employment Ecosystem here: Ecosystem
Former Worktopia Programs
CommunityWorks Canada® is a peer supported pre-employment program for teens and young adults on the autism spectrum ages 15-21 who are currently attending high school. The program is delivered during after school hours and provides participants with the opportunity to develop and practice basic job skills, improve social and communications skills, acquire community volunteer experience and cultivate potential areas of interest for future employment.
CommunityWorks Canada® (CWC) continues to be offered at a variety of locations across Canada. For any agencies who are interested in bringing this program to their community, please contact the National CWC Training Centre at the Centre for Autism Services Alberta. www.centreforautism.ab.ca.
The EmploymentWorks Canada program offered as part of the Worktopia Project has been rebranded as EmploymentWorks. Information about this ongoing employment preparedness training program for autistic adults and other disabilities can be found here www.employment-works.ca.
For agencies interested in learning more about how they might offer EmploymentWorks, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about pre-employment skills development programs for autistic students still attending high school, please contact us at email@example.com or connect directly with our partners at: