Center links autistic adults to jobs
by Eugene Scott - May. 3, 2012 06:34 AM
The Republic | azcentral.com
Matt McMahon got involved with the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center 13 years ago as a father. His son, Sean, then 3, had been diagnosed with the developmental disorder that affects social interaction.
McMahon has been involved with the Valley's autism community since then. Today, in a partnership with SARRC, McMahon is helping provide jobs for adults with autism.
"We have 38,000 people in Arizona with disabilities that can't get employed," said McMahon, who serves on the Arizona Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
McMahon launched the Outback Steakhouse franchise in the Valley 18 years ago, one of the many companies now providing jobs for people with autism, including McMahon's now 15-year-old son. Sean will start working at one of his father's restaurants this summer.
"As a parent, one of the things we worry about more than anything is who's going to take care of our kids when we're gone," McMahon said. "To know that they will not be a nuisance on society and that we can train them is exciting."
But as a businessman, McMahon is aware of the concerns that employers have with hiring people with disabilities, in terms of skill level and workplace sensitivity. SARRC is helping address those issues by producing skilled clients.
"The more we can get the information out about what SARRC is doing, the more employers will want to partake in this," he said.