$75,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant Gives Autism Community Access to Employment
On Friday October 26, 2018, ATN Access Inc. welcomed local employers and community representatives to its social enterprise grocery store, the Old East Village Grocer, to recognize its 1-year pilot project, Ready, Set, Shine. With a $75,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), the program began the development of an evidence-based model to help individuals on the autism spectrum find employment. Local MPPs Terence Kernaghan and OTF volunteer Linda Lustins were on hand to celebrate the outcomes of the investment. ATN staff and clients were delighted to share how projects like this increase opportunities for the autism community, and assist employers to explore wider avenues in the face of local and global talent shortages.
“It is very exciting to see the excellent work of Londoners be honoured and supported by an OTF grant. Our community is a great place to live because of outstanding community organizations like ATN and innovative projects like Ready, Set, Shine. They deepen community connections, harness untapped potential and expand access to opportunity for more people.” –Terence Kernaghan, MPP for London North Centre.
“The Ontario Trillium Foundation’s investment has allowed ATN to take a giant step forward in creating employment support services for job seekers on the autism spectrum, a clearly under-served population. The Ready, Set, Shine project is a strengths-based training program with customized job matching that creates new opportunities for both employers and our clients. We’re inspired by the people we serve and excited to put the data we’ve collected to use in service of our community.” – Andrea Topham, Executive Director, ATN Access Inc.
• The pilot project was geared towards developing evidence-based best practices to support sustainable employment for jobseekers on the autism spectrum
• ATN partnered with local employers to provide employment opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum
• Project included specialized pre-employment preparation, modified recruitment processes, and onsite job coaching to increase accessibility and support job retention
• ATN is a not for profit registered charity whose mandate is to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to gain access to employment, reach their educational goals and improve the quality of their lives. This is done through a variety of assessment, skills upgrading and personal development services. ATN specializes in computer training and computer assisted learning.
• The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded more than $120 million to some 700 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.