Major Announcement: Introducing the Autism Workforce Development Hub!

May 29, 2023

Geneva Centre for Autism (GCA) is reimagining autism employment services with the creation of the Autism Workforce Development Hub, funded by Ontario’s Skills Development Fund. This groundbreaking initiative aims to be a one stop shop for autistic job seekers and employers to access training and individualized support to facilitate inclusive, sustainable employment opportunities.  

“By working directly with both employers and job seekers to understand their needs and address potential workplace barriers, we can provide appropriate, inclusive employment opportunities for a largely untapped pool of talent,” explains Geneva Centre for Autism CEO, Abe Evreniadis.  

Individuals with autism have some of the lowest employment rates in the country. Workplace barriers and social stigma continue to limit opportunities for autistic employees to succeed, or to even be hired at all. For over 15 years, GCA has offered accessible pre-employment training and one-on-one support for autistic youth and adults seeking to enter the workforce, but access to job placements and employment opportunities are scarce. 

“There are still a lot of misconceptions about employing people on the spectrum – that it’s costly or it takes too much effort or that they’re only capable of entry-level positions,” says Renita Paranjape, Vice President of Programs & Services at Geneva Centre for Autism. “The reality is that the level of productivity, employee loyalty and reliability demonstrated by autistic employees far exceeds any workplace accommodation costs.” 

The Autism Workforce Development Hub aims to address these misconceptions by providing 500 free autism and neurodiversity awareness training courses to Ontario employers through GCA’s online professional development platform, Sonderly. Businesses looking to take the next step can join the Autism Workforce Development Hub as partner employers to receive individualized accessibility consulting and supported hiring opportunities for GCA’s autistic job seekers.  

“At a time when nearly 300,000 jobs are going unfilled around the province, giving people with disabilities a fair shot at a life-changing job isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also good for the bottom line,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Our government is proud to invest in training programs that will lift people living with physical or intellectual disabilities up, giving them training and confidence they need to find meaningful work, earn a good paycheque, and lead purpose-driven lives.” 

In addition to supporting employers, the Autism Workforce Development Hub will offer pre-employment training and 1:1 consulting for individuals with autism looking to secure long-term employment. GCA Employment Facilitators will work directly with participants to communicate their unique interests, skills, and accommodation needs and to identify relevant career options. 

“Our government believes that anyone who wants to work should have the opportunity to work. That’s why we are committed to removing barriers to employment for people with disabilities and connecting jobseekers and employers,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “These projects help create inclusive opportunities for Ontarians with disabilities to thrive in the workplace, strengthen our economy and enrich our communities.” 

The Autism Workforce Development Hub will begin outreach to employers this summer, with the first cohort of job seekers scheduled to start training in September. Employers interested in hiring autistic and neurodiverse employees and autistic job seekers can contact for more information. 

Additional Resources 



Bahar Miraftab
Director, Marketing and Communications
Geneva Centre for Autism