Employment Retention Training and Assessment (ERTA) Program

By Becs Brocken
  • AutismBC to partner with Orbital Learning to provide Employment Retention Training and Assessment to individuals with autism spectrum disorder

    Vancouver, BC: January 28, 2019: AutismBC and Orbital Learning are proud to announce the launch of a new partnership for the implementation of the Employment Retention Training and Assessment (ERTA) program for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are seeking business professional roles in technology, accounting and administration.

    Despite efforts by government-funded agencies to address ASD unemployment rates, there is still a 75%+ unemployment or underemployment rate within this talent pool, with many skilled individuals employed in minimum-wage, part-time jobs, regardless of their abilities, desires and potential.  The ERTA program, which recently received a three-year funding commitment from the Vancouver Foundation, seeks to address and improve this, with new employment outcomes for individuals who show aptitude for professional jobs with career growth potential and earnings above Vancouver’s living-wage.

    Gary Robins, President of AutismBC said, “Too often employment programs for individuals with ASD are based on a “one size, fits all” model.  This can be challenging when the needs and capabilities differ considerably between individuals with ASD.  The ERTA program aspires to promote neurodiversity within the workplace and build a talent pool to fill professional jobs in companies across Metro Vancouver.”

    The ERTA program, although customized for BC by Orbital Learning, is founded on the successful business model developed by Passwerk in Belgium that today employs 80 ASD individuals in various IT and business professional roles.

    Carol Simpson, Founder of Orbital Learning said, “The ERTA program is designed to prepare individuals with ASD for employment and ensure job retention.  Over the next three years, we expect to see over 100 graduates from the program and are working with partners from across the business community to ensure employers are set up for success in hiring, onboarding, and retaining individuals from this neuro-diverse talent pool.”

    Bailey, an ERTA graduate said, “Prior to joining the ERTA program, I was unemployed, yet had the desire to find a job and live independently.  After participating in the program, I was placed into a junior Software Testing position at Vancity and three years later I am looking forward to advancing to an intermediate position.”

    If you know an individual who would benefit from the ERTA program, or are an organization looking for support in making your workplace more neuro-diverse, please visit www.autismbc.ca/erta to learn more.

    Becs Brocken
    604 434 0880 Ext.102