Apple and Autistic employment

The Experiment blog article I wrote
is a follow up to the many articles  in this blog about Highly Functional Autistic (HFA) employment and the project Dandelion.  See Silicon Valley and Autism. A creative approach. 
Ahronovitz eyes robotic future - Rocklin  from August 2012, mentioned that David,  my HFA son and  a Whitney High grad will attend Sierra College's Mechatronics Program.
On August 27 2013 see the US Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published as law the Final Rule to Improve Job Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities.

OFCCP Final Rule; 7% of the total work force doing business with the  Federal Government must be IWD's
This involves almost all Fortune 5,000 corporations in USA
David attends - in parallel to Sierra College - the Transitions program, run by Rocklin Unified School District . The Special education program here is superb, RUSD was  one of the main reasons for us to move out of Bay Area to relocate 100 miles north east in Sacramento greater area. David has a bus pass, goes to movies with other colleagues in the program.and these are mini-miracles.

Christina Connelly runs a program named WorkAbility helped by   Holly Gotwals, special teacher extraordinaire In this program, David will need to pass an interview and if successfully he will be employed for two hours a week. His salary will be paid by WorkAbility, not by the employer.

How Apple (not) Responded 

I thought Apple Store in Galleria Mall Roseville is a good fit. It is in the bus route. They do recommend disabled people from their web site to
"Provide your name and contact information to Apple’s Employee Relations department at accommodationrequest@apple.com  or 408-862-1160 . Your request will be responded to as soon as possible."
Two emails to the address above got us no reply. Calling the number, we got a recorded message saying this number will return calls only to people who need accommodations as disabled. No one returned the messages.

This  is one experience those of us  - facing the task to employ highly functional autistic young persons - know only too well. For the public image, they are making themselves up as defender of people with disability. But internally they provide no resources, no points of contacts.

Note that  all our team wanted as an interview at the Apple Store.

Best Buy

A kind junior manager at the Roseville, California store agreed to forward an email to human resource about David. 

It appears these Best Buy Human Resources, like Apple Human Resources deal with candidates that are hiding any imperfections, as most of us do, when we apply for jobs. Unfortunately, the young candidates in the autistic spectrum can not be fake or pretend to be what an employer wants to hear.

The last two courses David takes are Electronics and a lab on computer repair. Why he needs to work in a supermarket?

All of us, some time in our life had lower rated jobs, and so did Ashton Kuchner and Jack London. We are in the normal spectrum, and we are able to handle a situation like this. We know deep in our hearts this is temporary, and we have aspirations and hopes that make us feel rich, even if we don't have a penny. We can mobilize inside us the will to get out of it.

Autistic kids can not. As a team, we must also observe and elect work that dignifies them, because by themselves, they can not make the choices we have as mainstream people.

Apple, do you hear us? 

You happily sell Autism Apps on iTunes for iEverything. These kids who bought these apps are now growing and are young people. They are exactly what Steve Jobs was: a round peg in a square hole.


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