Erin at work: an employment success story

I visited my local library today. As a father of two, we visit the library about every two weeks. I am not a Kindle guy and have no library at home to store books I’ve read, so the library is my literary hook-up.

So, as I was walking through the aisles to help my daughter find a book about Ireland for an upcoming school project, I ran into Erin! You might remember Erin from a post I wrote last year about her search for employment. Erin has autism and is in her twenties. She graduated with a library science degree and wanted to earn some money before graduate school.

Erin was living at home and unable to find a job, and when she sought job counseling through the department of vocational rehabilitation in Wisconsin, the counselor tried to connect her with a job in reception. Erin is very friendly, but relating to others and to large groups can be draining.

It turns out Erin’s dad knows Sue Russell, the VP of Community Engagement here at Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin. He told Sue about Erin’s wish to work in a library. Sue told me the story. I have some relationships at our local libraries. I shared Erin’s story with two libraries in my local area. Erin was hired as an intern. A position working at our local library opened up, and Erin got the job!

Erin shared her story at one of our autism awareness events in April and talked about how Easter Seals changed her life. She said she feels like a caterpillar who has become a butterfly. The audience was amazed at her poise, her words and her talents. Until word about Erin got to Easter Seals, though, Erin’s talents were going untapped.

Sadly, 80 percent of individuals with autism and other disabilities are underemployed or unemployed. Erin represents multitudes of people with autism and other disabilities seeking to use their talents and abilities in the workforce, and her story offers hope.

Each of us can pay it forward for someone we care about by using our contacts at work or in our personal lives to open doors for others to a job that gives someone inclusion in our workplace and greater independence.


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  1. Patricia Wright Says:

    Thanks for sharing the good news about Erin. I hope that every success story about an individual with autism gaining/maintaining meaningful employment results in raised awareness and MORE individuals with autism heading down a succesful path of the world of work.