In most commencement ceremonies, you can find a reference to how the word commencement means ‘a beginning’, That was certainly true for our most recent Autism Advancement commencement ceremony held this past Friday. However, unlike the majority of commencement ceremonies where it is often shared as a trope, we really do mean it.
We graduated nine incredibly talented individuals from our Autism Advantage program last Friday. Over the past six weeks, they used our program to sharpen their data analytical skills while mastering approaches to successful workplace navigation. The commencment ceremony was held in an overflowing room filled with friends and family members of graduates as well as representatives from many of the companies we work with including Box, Citibank, EY, Mastercard, Symantec, and Visa. Representatives from Stanford University also attended, along with Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union, who presented the program with a donation towards future training cohorts.
Just as it would be an understatement to say that our team is incredibly proud of our graduates, it would also be an understatement to say that our graduates’ participation in the Autism Advantage program is limited to just six weeks of our core training. Like a commencement, the six weeks that Autism Advantage trainees spend in our classroom is only the beginning.
Autism Advantage continues to work with individuals far beyond their graduation from our training program. Upon commencement, we work with each individual to move them into quality employment. That includes interview preparation, placement, and support once hired. Once hired, Autism Advantage continues to work both with the individual and their new employer to assist and ensure that both develop the parameters they need for both parties to succeed.
As this program grows, we are incorporating new ways to grow opportunities for autistic adults. This includes fostering platforms which allow our graduates to connect with, and learn from, each other. That’s important. Learning occurs both in-and-out of the classroom. Growth occurs far beyond graduation. That’s why we are using our Autism Advantage program to help build support, learning opportunities, and autistic community within professional environments long after our trainees leave our classroom. Commencement means “a beginning” and that is the approach we are taking in Autism Advantage.
Hey! Our friend Kenneth is riding his bike this July for 100 miles from Washington, DC to the Atlantic Ocean. He decided to do this on his own to raise awareness and funds to train autistic adults through Autism Advantage. We think that’s awesome and hope you do to. You can support his effort by clicking here. Check it out!