Finding employment isn’t easy, and it can be even harder for those with disabilities. Those that suffer from autism-related symptoms are among a large group that struggles to find meaningful or gainful employment. In Iowa, The Homestead, an organization that focuses on building inclusive communities for people with autism, created a farm program to tackle the job issue by training people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in how to manage a farm.
“On this farm, what really matters is how a person grows — not what they grow,” Angela Book-Glynn a director at the Homestead told The Des Moines Register, an Iowa publication.
The farm currently has four autistic men working in the program. Their day-to-day responsibilities include planting, harvesting produce, and boxing them up for Homestead’s CSA pickup locations. The goal of the program is to give people with ASD an opportunity to join the workforce by helping them develop skills and confidence to find a job with their peers.
“For us, this is so much bigger than just getting a box of produce,” continued Book-Glynn in the same article. “I strongly believe that if you can contribute to your income, you can contribute to society. And that’s what we want for the (employees) here, to be contributing members of society who are proud of their work and themselves.”
The Homestead is a shining example for other employers to follow. To see more about the Homestead farm project and its impact on the autism community, check out The Des Moines Register article.