The Groden Network of Programs:
Effectively supporting employees with
autism spectrum disorders
Mike Smith, Director of Vocational Services, The Groden Network
Rick Spencer, Vocational Supervisor, The Cove Center
About the Webcast
Employment rates for people with disabilities are declining: people with ASD are among the least likely to be employed. SEDL and partners on the National Advisory Panel of the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with ASD project have identified programs that help increase competitive, long-term employment for people with ASD.
The Vocational Services Department of the Groden Network of Programs, provided 10,500 hours of job coaching in 2011 to over 100 people with ASD. To hear about the approaches to get employers on board with the program’s mission of helping people with ASD become productive members of their communities and the instruction of "soft skills" necessary for long-term job placement.
About the Presenters
Mike Smith, is the Director of Vocational and Employment Services at the Groden Network. He is responsible for developing employment and community based services for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. With over 32 years of service to people with disabilities, Mike has experience as an educator, writer, and consultant to organizations focusing on autism, transition, and employment. He is also a founding board member of the National Association of Residential Providers for Adults with Autism (NARPAA).
Rick Spencer, has been employed with the Groden Network since 1981. He has over 30 years of both direct care and supervisory experience working with adults with developmental disabilities. Most recently he was the chief instructor of a US Dept. of Labor funded Job Club Program for young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. Rick's classes in the various "soft skills" needed to get and keep a job (interviewing, problem solving, self-management, self-advocacy, community mobility) are both entertaining and informative. Rick's instructional work combined with his skills in customized job development and job coaching have been the foundation for dozens of individuals who now are successfully employed!
This webcast is supported through SEDL's Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (VR Autism), funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), part of the U.S. Department of Education. The opinions and views expressed are those of the presenter and no endorsement by the funding agency or the federal goverment should be inferred.