Rafael helps Jake fix his tie to prepare for an interview during the OUCARES Pre-Employment Skills Training program.

Rafael helps Jake fix his tie to prepare for an interview during the OUCARES Pre-Employment Skills Training program.

Photo provided by OUCARES


Troy library program spotlights job skill help for adults with autism

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 4, 2018

TROY — Adults with autism may get help learning the soft job skills they need to succeed through a foundation-sponsored program coming to the Troy Public Library.

Representatives from the Joanne and Ted Lindsay Foundation Autism Outreach Services — formerly called the Oakland University Center for Autism Outreach Services, or OUCARES — will present the Job Skills for People with Autism program at the Troy Public Library at 7 p.m. Dec. 12.

“At the reference desk, we often meet patrons and families who are looking for resources to help them or their loved ones live their best life with autism,” said Olivia Olson, the Troy Public Library’s teen librarian. “When we heard about the Oakland University Center for Autism Outreach Services program, we were so excited to have such a rich program to share.”

“It’s very exciting for us,” Kristin Rohrbeck, director of the Joanne and Ted Lindsay Foundation Autism Outreach Services, said of the chance to share information about the programs offered for adults with autism at the Troy library.

“We’ll offer a brief overview of all the services we offer — recreational sports, social skills programs, employment readiness training, summer camps, and support for parents and caregivers,” she said.

Rohrbeck explained that “soft” job skills include teamwork, collaboration, social interaction, appropriate emails and social norms.

The program also teaches “hard” job skills, basic computer functions and working a phone.

Rohrbeck explained that the OUCARES Pre-Employment Skills Training program began in 2016.

“Over 60 percent of those who go through the intense program have gotten a job during the program within three months or have gone on to higher education. That’s huge,” she said.

She noted that, typically, vocational and rehabilitation programs that help build social skills and help people find employment have much lower success rates.

“There is a cost to the program and great scholarships available to mitigate the cost,” Rohrbeck said.

She explained that a portion of Joanne and Ted Lindsay’s recent $1 million donation will be earmarked for scholarships.

For more information on the Joanne and Ted Lindsay Foundation Autism Outreach Services, visit oakland.edu/oucares.

The Troy Public Library is located at 510 W. Big Beaver Road. Register for the program at troypl.org or by calling (248) 524-3524.