Autism Community Ventures is a non-profit organization combating the autism unemployment crisis by helping adults on the autism spectrum integrate into the workforce. This month, the organization announced that the first round of transition scholarships have been awarded for its Transition2Success project.
According to a Yahoo News report this month, the project was founded by Autism Community Ventures director, Dr. Maureen Dunne, for teens diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Dunne described the Transition2Success program as groundbreaking for being “the first of its kind in that it is transportable to any college or apprenticeship, and has been designed specifically to bridge high school to college or work so that teens with autism don't fall through the cracks.”
Dunne said that she and her colleagues are working to “provide a diverse and flexible set of supports and services, including counseling, executive functioning coaching to help with organization and time management, assistive technology, and other skill-building workshops.”
Dunne emphasized that the goal of the program is to provide young adults with autism with all of the resources necessary to successfully transition to adult life.
“The goal is to bring to the table whatever resources are necessary to help build a bridge from the structure of the school system into the next phase of life,” Dunne said, “to help these young adults move forward armed with the personal resources to find success and actualization."
The Transition2Success scholarship program is being implemented nationally, with the initial pilot focused on a few specific regions. One is Community High School District 99 in Downer’s Grove, Illinois. The town holds a personal significance for Dunne, who graduated from Downer’s Grove South High School as a junior. She was also the school district’s first and only Rhodes Scholarship winner.
The pilot program in Downer’s Grove has garnered support from community leaders, teachers, and parents.
“It was wonderful to see so many of our community leaders, Rotarians, teachers, and parents at our fundraiser to show their full support and commitment to this worthy cause,” Debbie Mascitti, the President of Woodridge Rotary Club (one of the program’s supporters) said.
Two of the winners of the Down’s Grove scholarship will be attending the College of DuPage in the Fall, while the third will be attending North Central College. The recipients of the scholarship will have access to a variety of skill-building activities and workshops.
According to Yahoo News report, Dr. Dunne leads programs which teach coding to young adults, including those with autism.