The Challenge

The High School Career Challenge: Getting a Job


While any young adult entering the workforce today encounters significant barriers to entry, those with Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD) face even more difficulty.

At the milder end of the autism spectrum, those diagnosed with Asperger’s have normal to high intelligence, but have trouble understanding and navigating the social world we all inhabit. Their difficulty with interpreting the subtle cues of social situations puts them at a particular disadvantage in job interviews and at work.

Any number of common ASD sensitivities (such as to fluorescent lighting, sounds, etc.) can also make a normal work environment highly stressful. Training tailored to the ASD person’s cognitive strengths and challenges can boost their confidence and increase their odds for success.

A consortium of 6 mid-Michigan organizations focused on basic skills required to successfully enter the job market.  They collaborated to create The High School Career Challenge, a multidisciplinary program designed to promote independence and achievement for students with Asperger’s Syndrome.

The High School Career Challenge offers computer classes at Mott Community College; Life Coaching with a focus on disability awareness, disability disclosure and self-advocacy; summer jobs. Students participate in three-week rotations at different work sites. Employment skills are taught “on the job”, with coaching provided on site by Work Skills Corporation.