Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Jacqueline Hodes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Orkideh Mohajeri, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Elmore, P.h.D.


Higher education institutions are in the business of transforming neurotypical students into becoming fully human and flourishing into employable graduates that contribute to societal development while failing to be fully inclusive of the needs of students on the autism spectrum. To address these concerns, I propose a developmental employment readiness program for matriculated autistic students. The Autism Workforce Program will transform the system of higher education to be more inclusive of the needs of the autism population and their growing unemployment rate. This program will provide employment training opportunities, job shadowing, internships, and paid positions through campus mentorships from faculty and staff on campus. I also propose formative assessments using direct and indirect measures to determine the effectiveness of this program to help build a more inclusive training program that will provide sustainable employment opportunities for autistic students. It is our ethical responsibility as an institute of higher education to transform the education system and allow neurodiverse students to develop their own potentialities.