The Aspire Internship Program is designed to help adults with high cognitive autism spectrum disorder or a related profile navigate the various aspects of the work environment while gaining important on-the-job skills.

We believe that informed employer partners will be the most effective supervisors and advocates for our Aspire interns.  It is our goal to provide with you support and guidance throughout each internship cycle. We have compiled some frequently asked questions and answers to help ensure that you have the information you need for this to be a successful experience for all involved. 

How does the Aspire Internship Program match intern candidates with employer partners?

Every intern candidate attends an in-depth intake interview with Aspire staff. During this intake, internship staff hone in on the strengths, skills, challenges and interests of each intern. This allows us to then make an appropriate intern match setting both the employer and intern up for a successful and meaningful experience.

If an intern match is identified for my company/organization, when and how will I be notified?

Intern applications come in on a rolling basis prior to the start of the internship cycle. Once we have confirmation that your company/organization will be participating in the upcoming cycle, we can begin the matching process. As we complete intake interviews, we will reach out if a match has been made. You will receive an email from the Aspire Internship Program staff notifying you that a match has been made with some introductory information about the intern as well as next steps.

What does the interview process look like after an intern match has been identified?

After receiving an email introducing your intern match, a career counselor will be in touch to set up the interview. The career counselor will help to facilitate the logistics of the interview and will attend the interview with the intern. This interview is an opportunity for the intern to practice interview skills, so we ask that you run this interview they way you would any other staff interview. At the conclusion of the interview, the intern will privately receive feedback from the career counselor to improve skills in this area.

What are the next steps after the interview takes place?

Each employer partner has a different on-boarding process. The career counselor will guide the intern through your specific requirements to ensure a smooth and timely start to the internship cycle. 

What support does the supervisor receive throughout the internship cycle?

Supporting our supervisors is an important part of the success of the internship program. Support is offered throughout the internship cycle in several different ways:

  • Employer Training – At the start of each cycle, all supervisors are invited to a group training that is offered at the Aspire office. This comprehensive training provides information about the Aspire Internship Program, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and best practices for supervising Aspire interns. If you or your staff is unable to attend the group training, Aspire staff can also work with you to run training at your office.
  • Weekly Consult – Supervisors will have the opportunity to speak to the career counselor assigned to their intern match on a weekly basis. The purpose of this call will be to discuss your intern’s progress and to answer any questions that you and your staff may have. This may include discussing certain strategies to aid in the intern’s learning or helping navigate important conversations.
  • Questions and Concerns – The career counselor assigned to your intern match is available throughout the cycle to offer support and guidance. As a supervisor, you should always feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Is there an expectation that employer partners should hire an intern after the completion of the internship cycle?

No. As interns are told during their intake interviews and throughout the internship program, this is an internship program and it is not an expectation that interns will be hired on after the completion of the program. The goal of the Aspire Internship Program is to provide interns with a valuable work experience while they receive the support of a supervisor and career counselor to increase preparedness to join the workforce.