Since 2007, ASIE has been working with different agencies and collaboratives to improve opportunities for employment for young people with Autism. For years, ASIE heard from parents that many of the adults with Autism were “sitting at home, doing nothing.” In 2015, the Autism Society Inland Empire asked Inland Regional Center for data to show the breakdown of employment opportunities for adults with autism. The results were astounding. We found that the data collection used is antiquated. We also learned that only 23 out 1,009 (2%) adults with autism over the age of 22 years old, had jobs that paid minimum wage or more and that 393 adults (39%) had no programs during the day – they were sitting at home doing nothing.
In that same year, the Autism Society of California made a public records request to the California Department of Developmental Services to confirm employment for the entire state to see if the Inland Empire was an isolated case. Unfortunately, the answer was no. For the 104,000 adults in the Regional Center system of with any qualifying disability – only 2% had a job which paid minimum wage or more and 33% of adults had no program.
ASIE is continuing to work on bringing new, innovative programs into the Inland Empire to address these issues.