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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.
By Lesley Flaherty, MSW, LCSW, Career CounselorFor most, junior year of college is a delicate time when students are faced with the reality that college will soon end and, eventually, they will be expected to search for permanent employment. Seth Rogers was no different. Like so many of our interns, he recalls thinking about post-graduation employment and what would be his next step. Seth’s family and mentors recommended that he apply for an internship to start gaining experience in a supportive setting. It was Seth’s hope in this setting that he would learn more about his interests, what he is good at, and what he would consider pursuing professionally. As a student at Regis College, Seth began by reaching out to career services but felt he needed additional support finding and securing an internship.
He applied to the Aspire Internship Program in the Fall of 2015 with an initial interest in learning more about television broadcasting and media production. In his first internship cycle, Seth was matched with Radio Perkins at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA, where his primary responsibility was editing and posting radio shows for online listeners. This was Seth’s first job experience since he began his college education several years prior. Though nervous and unsure of what to expect initially, he transitioned into his internship with the help of his job coach and was successful in carrying out these important tasks.
“It is one thing to get a job,” noted Seth, “and another to keep it. The level of support provided to me made a huge difference. Having the opportunity to try to work and be supported was huge.”
Seth gained wonderful experience working within the media field throughout his fall internship and learning more about his strengths and challenges. His experience with Radio Perkins was a key motivator in deciding to pursue a second internship with Aspire, this time focusing on administrative tasks in an office setting.
In the Spring of 2016, Seth began his second internship with Copart Salvage Auto Auctions in North Billerica, MA. As an intern, Seth worked closely with his supervisor Brian Delmore, Copart’s Office Manager, learning how to process salvaged vehicle titles by inputting them into their online database.
“Seth’s greatest strength is his calm demeanor and patience. No matter how busy it is, he always remains calm. It has been so enjoyable seeing Seth’s confidence grow over the course of his internship. He has developed wonderful relationships with our team which is so vital in the workplace,” said Brian.
Seth was quick to learn these tasks and to recognize his strengths. He thrived in a busy office environment surrounded by supportive, friendly, and enthusiastic colleagues. He was consistent in his work and kept up with the pace well. Seth demonstrated his ability to work independently on a variety of tasks, consistency and time management, and sustaining focus on tasks for long periods of time.
“From the beginning at Copart I felt positive because I knew I could do it based on my experience at Radio Perkins,” remarked Seth. “I was more open to transitioning into new work environments and learning something new.”
Seth continued at Copart as an Aspire intern this past summer building on the skills that he had learned in the spring. In addition to processing vehicle titles, he began assisting with calls to insurance companies and started working the front desk to help with customer inquiries.
In the final weeks of his internship with Copart, Seth was offered a permanent part-time position with the company for his outstanding performance.
“It is truly something to treasure to see the progress interns make from the beginning of the cycle to end. We are so fortunate to be a part of Aspire getting to see firsthand how the program helps shape the interns confidence which is not only important but so deserving,” remarks Delmore.
Seth will continue to work at Copart while he finishes up his Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies at Regis College.
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