After graduating high school, Zachary had difficulties finding success in college. Zachary’s mother, Martha, said that Zachary worked so hard but struggled because “his autism makes it harder for him to function at the cognitive level needed for college.”
After attempts at two colleges, Zachary changed paths and began looking for work. However, with no work history, a limited social network and a disability, Zachary had trouble securing employment. Martha turned to the internet and found Autism Action Partnership’s PACE (Partnership for Autism Career Employment) program. Days later, they were meeting with PACE staff, who assessed Zachary’s skills and interests and began reviewing job opportunities that would be the right fit.
Within weeks, PACE arranged for Zachary to participate in a tour at Sam’s Club, where he was able to learn about different job opportunities they offer as well as meet some of the management team. Zachary completed an application that day and was hired only days later. PACE worked with Zachary and Sam’s Club to create a work schedule and a training plan that met both parties’ needs.
A PACE job coach worked alongside Zachary for the first few shifts to ensure his success and quickly realized what a great fit it was. Martha agrees: “They found Zachary a job that is the perfect combination of the right environment, the right job requirements to match Zachary’s abilities and the right culture . . . where Zachary is made to feel like a valued member of the team. All of it has allowed Zachary to thrive. I feel like I should have bought a lottery ticket the day I found PACE. We got so lucky.”
When asked about PACE, Zachary said it made a difference in his life. “I recommend PACE, wholeheartedly!” Zachary remains employed at Sam’s Club today, and his story is a wonderful example of the mission of Autism Action Partnership in action.