About Autism Works Now!

Joanne Lara

Executive Director

For two hours, Joanne Lara, a spirited woman with a luminous smile, coached seven young men and women in what seemed like just another job-skills seminar. But for these adults with autism, job training takes extra effort...

Get to know me

Susan Osborne


Susan Osborne has worked in the autism education field for over ten years. Her past experience includes employment as a behavioral interventionist, principal of a private school for children with special needs and director of a residential support program for young adults with autism. She currently works as an instructional assistant at her local high school with plans to become a special education teacher. Susan is also the parent of a young adult who was diagnosed with autism at age 3 and graduated with a diploma. She is currently coordinating services to help him transition to adulthood and become a happy, healthy and productive member of his community.

Autism Works Now!

Mentor …Train … Coach … WORK WITH US

Within the first seven years after they’ve graduated from high school, a third of young, autistic adults will have no college or technical school training, and will not have held a paying job. Those who do find employment during that time earn an average of 30% less than peers with other disabilities.

To further appreciate the magnitude of the problem, consider that one in 68 children are born on the autism spectrum, and that more than 3.5 million Americans have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

These individuals are in virtually every community, as are workplaces that would employ them if they had a greater understanding of the valuable skills that those on the spectrum can bring to the job. These individuals can find “a place at the table” in our ever-growing job market if enough people help educate both potential employers and job candidates.

We have too few qualified work programs dedicated to preparing our young adults with autism for jobs after they graduate from public school. The greater need is for programs that will help match skill sets of young adults with employer need.

Autism Works Now! functions as a mentorship, placement and ‘on the job’ work support program for individuals with autism and related disorders.

If the employee requires mentorship, training and/or job coaching, volunteer trainees from Autism Works Now! are placed with young adults in the workplace to ensure optimum work outcomes as the young adults with autism transition to a paid work position.

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