The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in 2017 launched its inaugural RISE at DHHS Program. The RISE at DHHS Program created career opportunities for people on the autism spectrum to work for DHHS as Records Management Officers. The pre-selection and training and assessment programs was tailored so that candidates were provided with simulated tasks aligned with what would be required in the workplace. The program was hugely successful and won a TechDiversity award (see below video).
Taking the time to understand individual needs, providing professional development opportunities and training managers and co-workers were all factors that contributed to the program success, according to La Trobe University’s pilot study. The award-winning program is the first example of the State Government providing leadership in its own employment practices by employing people on the autism spectrum, which was one of the recommendations from the 2017 Victorian Government Inquiry into services for people with autism spectrum disorder.
One of the successful RISE at DHHS program candidates said: “It’s been a lifechanging experience for me, being able to have a routine and more structure in my life. I feel like I’m finally contributing to society. I don’t feel like I’m a burden.”