Program helps workers with autism find the perfect job

Acing interviews weren’t an issue for Randy Richardson when he was hunting for a job a few years ago.

“The real challenge,” he says, “was getting an interview.”

The 31-year-old Upper West Sider, who has autism, spent considerable time looking for a job, but repeatedly came up short. That’s when he reached out to Job Path, a Midtown-based nonprofit that offers free services such as customized job searching, coaching and on-the-job support to NYC residents 18 or older with documented developmental disabilities.

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Richardson’s employment specialist matched him with Midtown-based civil law firm Mayerson & Associates — the firm’s founder, Gary Mayerson, reached out to Job Path seeking a qualified candidate with strong clerical skills.

“Without Job Path, it would have been really difficult to find a good job,” says Richardson.

Job Path — founded in 1978 — works with this population for good reason: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in June 2014, 80.7 percent were unemployed, compared to just 6.1 percent of the country as a whole.

The nonprofit’s philosophy — there’s a job for everyone — typically customizes jobs to the individual. “They need to know they can experience employment and they can be good at it,” says Abby Schatten, program manager at Job Path. “People without developmental disabilities are expected to work. A person with disabilities wasn’t even aware this could be a goal. We believe everybody can work and when you see it happen, [when it] changes a person’s life, it gives you the tingles. Work is essential to everybody.”

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