Jewish Vocational Services is Helping Autistic Patients Get Jobs
Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Hetal Narciso, Director of Vocational Rehab Services at Jewish Vocational Services, to learn how JVS is helping people with autism prepare for a career and secure a place in the workforce.
"Hetal Narciso is Director of Vocational Rehab Services, Jewish Vocational Services. Good to see you. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Tell everyone what your organization is all about. So we're a nonprofit agency that helps people with disabilities find employment and become independent. You know, we were talking right before we got on the air, about people dealing with autism, they're on the spectrum? Yeah. I still... I'm always amazed people don't know exactly what the spectrum means. What does that mean? So it's... the spectrum is what, you know, I always say that... Is there a range? It is. There is, you know, it's such a vast range of different individuals with different, you know, symptoms, and also... Is it...? Hold on one second. Is it speech? It's not always speech? It's not. No. It's not always speech? It's not always speech. What else could it be? It can also be just, you know, difficulty with social skills, difficulty being in a social environment with a lot of people, being in an environment that's overstimulating as well. Really? Yeah. So it's a range. And one of the things that you were saying, before we got on the air, that you wanted to focus on is that employers... right? First of all, you gotta help people at your organization... you help people get ready to go on job interviews? Yeah. To be effective in the workplace? But what about helping employers understand? What do they need to understand? Yeah. So that's a really big part of also what our organization does. It's not only important to help our individuals prepare for employment, but also connect with employers and build partnerships where they understand why it's important to hire individuals with disabilities. Why is it? Tell everyone why. Well, you know, I think everyone has an opportunity to work and become independent, and be a part of the community, as people with autism spectrum. If someone says, "Well I don't really know what I'm dealing with...?" Devil's advocate, someone says, "I don't really know what I'm dealing with here. How do I know that person is not going to be a behavior problem in the workplace?" You say? So the great part is that we provide the support. So JVS goes, builds a relationship with an employer, the employer will interview our clients, and they're able to be on the job, and try the job as well. We're also able to provide support to the individual. Give us one example of the support you're talking about. Sure. So we actually had one individual that just got hired at Target. A job coach is with the individual on the job..."