The Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) is pleased to announce the launch of their GO Group Employment Initiative. GO (which stands for goal oriented) Group, provides short-term, paid employment for those on the Autism Spectrum, or with related disorders, throughout various business functions within the Pacific Autism Family Network. The initiative was created to address a gap in employment services for young adults with Autism, providing an opportunity for individuals that are new or returning to work to build their resume in a real and meaningful way. The initiative is proudly supported by the Vancouver Foundation, RBC and the Lisogar-Cocchia Foundation.
“The GO Group model is a play on the traditional social enterprise model. We had various business needs here in our 60,000sqft GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub and wanted to make sure we were using the opportunity to extend our mission and further support our community,” says Director of Adult Programming, Jenna Christianson-Barker. “We know individuals with Autism make great employees, but the added barrier of having limited to no work experience makes it hard for employers to see that. As part of their employment, GO employees are able to track and display the skill sets they have acquired to employers through our digital badging system.”
PAFN has partnered with UBC’s school of Education to customize their Edudata learning management system. The system allows the GO Group support team to track skill development, strategies and success, awarding digital badges when skills are mastered. These badges can then be shared on GO employees online profiles (such as LinkedIn) and resume. GO employees will be supported by an in-house employment specialist at PAFN’s GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub.
“I am very excited to earn the cashier badge,” says new GO Group employee Trish Crosby. “Working in a restaurant is my dream job.”