Projects

Research Support Services for Employment of Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum

2021—2024

Project Overview

Objective

To identify promising practices and policies to support employment of young adults on the autism spectrum.

Project Motivation

Recent estimates suggest that there are more than one million young adults on the autism spectrum in the U.S. ages 16 through 28. They offer myriad strengths to potential employers, yet face unique challenges in entering the labor force.

Prepared For

U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy

Mathematica is conducting research to understand barriers to, catalysts for, and promising strategies for improving employment outcomes of young adults on the autism spectrum.

After leaving high school, young adults on the autism spectrum experience lower participation rates in vocational or technical education and employment, even compared to young adults with other disabilities. Moving the needle on employment outcomes for this group requires more evidence on a diverse array of approaches and input from a wide range of stakeholders.

This project will examine challenges to and catalysts for improving employment and career development within this population. In partnership with ODEP, Mathematica aims to identify specific factors, approaches, policies, and practices that contribute to successful employment for young adults on the autism spectrum. Our team will: 

  • Review the  literature on existing strategies to support employment and the evidence of their effectiveness; 
  • Hold listening sessions with a range of stakeholders, including young adults on the autism spectrum; 
  • Assess and analyze extant administrative and/or survey data;
  • Develop evaluation designs and recommendations for future evidence-building activities.

We will use this information to disseminate actionable findings on promising policies and practices that reduce underemployment of young adults on the autism spectrum and increase work opportunities that reflect individual skills, talents, and interests.

Related Staff

Paul Shattuck

Paul Shattuck

Senior Fellow

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Ankita Patnaik

Ankita Patnaik

Senior Researcher

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Jody Schimmel Hyde

Jody Schimmel Hyde

Principal Researcher, Deputy Director, Center for Studying Disability Policy

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Marisa Shenk

Marisa Shenk

Research Analyst

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