Giving Season Fundraiser

December 31, 2021

There are an estimated 10.44 million job vacancies in the United States. We all know of a business that can’t seem to fill its open positions. Restaurants here in Columbia, South Carolina have labeled themselves as “overworked and understaffed” in news articles announcing their temporary closure due to understaffing. While roles remain unfilled, an untapped workforce among us aspires to obtain employment: people with autism.

Job training at The Unumb Center for Neurodevelopment gives young adults with autism the individualized training they need to find and keep employment. The 16-week program includes career exploration, resume writing, interview preparation, lessons on workplace etiquette, self-advocacy, time management, and work-based learning at The Unumb Center Print Shop at the end of the semester. Job trainees implement all they have learned and gain realistic experience simulating employment as a t-shirt printer.

This giving season, we ask you to give back to propel young adults with autism forward – into your open roles. The gift of employability transforms life trajectories.

On Giving Tuesday, we kicked off our campaign to raise $15,000 by the end of the year to fund the upcoming spring semester of job training and strengthen the program’s long-term impact with the expansion of work-based learning.

That expansion includes the purchase of hospitality equipment which will allow work-based learning to expose job trainees to the wide variety of career paths in the industry. Depending on the participant’s strengths and interests, they can gain experience as a host, chef, server, caterer, food runner, busser, dishwasher, janitorial staff, or even an event rental company employee who sets up and tears down rentals. The equipment will also be used to host a business dinner at the close of the semester, which most job trainees have never had the opportunity to attend.

We will build the hospitality aspect of the program as we do all our programs: with scalability in the hopes that it will grow to not only train people with autism, but also employ them, just as The Unumb Center Print Shop does.

Like the autism spectrum itself, ideal employment looks different for every person with autism. With education and opportunities like that of The Unumb Center’s job training program, this untapped pool of talent can reach their unique employment goals and bring a spectrum of possibilities and abilities to workplaces everywhere.

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