The Rise at DHHS program to create employment opportunities for people with autism was awarded the overall Champion Award at the #TechDiversity Awards gala dinner event in Melbourne on Thursday 27 September. The program’s creator, Dr Steve Hodgkinson, the CIO of the Victorian State Government’s Department of Health and Human Services, had earlier accepted the Winner and Merit Awards in the Government category, along with two of the program’s participants Amelia and Adam, before being “astonished” to be selected for the overall Champion Award at the end of the evening. There were 42 nominations for the 2018 awards across four categories, business, education, government and media & advertising.
Rise at DHHS is a successful program to employ a cohort of people with ASD in the Victorian State Government’s Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) for an initial period of two years. The program’s main focus is to create a repeatable and sustainable employment approach. This was achieved by partnering with us at Specialisterne to recruit a team and to support their groups successful transition into the workforce. The goal was for the program participants to successfully perform meaningful work and to gain the skills and confidence required to be selected on merit for other roles within the department or other organisations. A research partnership was also created with LaTrobe University’s Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre to identify success factors for successful transition of people with ASD into the workforce.