Jake’s House, a Canadian charity that supports families living with autism, is opening doors to employment opportunities for young adults on the spectrum.  

There are 350,000 working-age Canadians with autism—and up to 85% of them are unemployed or underemployed. To combat the barriers in traditional business operations and support the integration of young adults with autism into the workforce, Jake’s House has developed an innovative program: Jake’s House Employment Mentoring (JHEM).

Backed by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s 2018 ASD Strategic Fund and delivered in partnership with Specialisterne Canada, JHEM connects young adults on the spectrum with paid professional placements at companies looking to grow strong, diverse teams.

Through these placements, the young adults receive opportunities to develop their professional skills and demonstrate them to employers, while being guided by caring, on-site mentors. The employers benefit from a low-risk and effective recruitment strategy, as they gain access to a large, skilled but often overlooked talent pool, and have the opportunity to assess each candidate’s capabilities on the job.

The first phase of JHEM has been focused on opportunities within Ontario. To date, 14 young adults with autism have participated, employed by companies in diverse fields, including banking, security and law.

Candidates have shared that they’ve enjoyed their employment experiences, felt capable of performing their responsibilities, and felt supported throughout. Mentors have identified improved confidence in and other development of the candidates. Employers have noted that onboarding has been smooth, and that their candidates have offered valuable unique skills and have performed as well or better than their peers.

Jake’s House is dedicated to deepening JHEM’s positive impact on the community. The charity continues to seek more candidates, as well as more diversity and inclusion leaders, to join this program and pave the way a future of greater opportunity together.

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