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You’re Hired! Employment Matching Success Story

Although most adults on the spectrum have the knowledge and abilities necessary for success in the workplace, most autistic adults remain unemployed or underemployed.  The Els for Autism Employment Programs team supports adults with autism in finding and keeping jobs that fit their interests, goals, and ambitions.

Westside Cleaners is an award-winning laundromat near our headquarters. After our Employment Team visited to provide all our accommodations to support their business, Christine Benoig, decided to become an Employer Partner of ours and hire one of our clients. I decided to ask her about her hiring experience and outcomes.

What made you decide to move forward with the hiring process?

“I wanted him to feel good; I liked the on-the-job training program. It seemed like a win-win scenario.”

How did the Els For Autism staff help you onboard the right candidate for your business?

“Both David Mendel, Employment Specialist / Job Coach, and Kaylan Wrightson, Employment Specialist / Job Coach, from Els for Autism assessed the need I had and matched me with Stephen.”

What were the most rewarding experiences of having an employee on staff with autism?

“So many compliments on him; Stephen does a better job than my regular staff.”

What message would you give to other employers about hiring employees with autism?

“They need to be part of society. There is a big need for employment for these individuals.”

After the interview with Christine, I wanted to get the perspective of the client that she hired to get the total impact of hiring someone with autism.

What was the feeling you had about getting hired at Westside Cleaners?

“I was waiting so long to get a job, and it finally came true on May 30. I felt excited and happy. How did your work experience with Sea of Possibilities help you with working at Westside Cleaners? I previously had no work experience before Sea of Possibilities. The work experience I had with Sea of Possibilities allowed me to greet and talk to customers, complete tasks, and work with a team. It was very valuable.”

What do you like the most about your job?

“I am proud of the uniform that I wear while I am at work, that way, I feel like I am a part of the team. I also really like the supervisor I work for and the colleagues that I work with. Everyone is pretty nice and accommodating there.”

What did you spend your first paycheck on?

“I went to Publix to get a snack, specifically the Flipz chocolate pretzels.”

I want to thank Christine of Westside Cleaners for taking an interest in one of our clients, Stephen, and acknowledging the gifts someone with ASD can provide to the workplace. I also would like to thank Stephen for vocalizing the pride that he gets from working at Westside Cleaners.

Be sure to listen to July’s Fore Autism Podcast, co-hosted by Dr. Nate Shanok and me. We are interviewing the Associate Director of Adult Services, Dr. Robin Jones, about the Stoops Family Adult Services Building opening next month and the employment services we offer as part of our selection of discussion topics. To become an employer partner with us, contact Dr. Robin Jones at or call her at 561-320-9516