Frist Center for Autism and Innovation

Assessment and Employment Referral

An Autism diagnosis

For those who think their struggles may be linked to autism, an assessment for ASD may often be an important first step. Though many who reach out to us already have a formal diagnosis, some have asked for advice on how to obtain one. Some researchers at Vanderbilt are now offering first-time evaluations as a part of their research. To learn more, inquire by email to to see if you qualify.

Who knows what I’m capable of?

Among the most pressing and common questions we hear from autistic adults and their families are: What is the right job for me? What talents do I have that might not be apparent on the surface? What supports will I need to be successful in the workplace?

A driving motivation for the Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce is to help individuals answer these questions, and to help our employment partners learn how to fully utilize the capabilities of autistic employees — the “autism advantage” — by recruiting and optimally employing autistic individuals with educational levels ranging from high school to college and beyond.

Workforce Readiness and Preparation (WRAP)

Beginning June of 2018, we’re partnering with Currey Ingram Academy and Specialisterne to develop a month-long pre-employment workshop for high-schoolers and young adults aged 15-20 on the spectrum.

Tentatively called the Workforce Readiness and Preparation (WRAP) workshop for students with autism, this four-week course is built upon the development methodology used by Specialisterne to assess, train, and integrate their autistic employees for more than ten years.

The first WRAP workshop will be at Currey Ingram Academy, and we hope to expand it in future years with a similar project for college-aged students.

Employment Assessment and Referral Program

The Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce plans to develop an Employment Assessment and Referral program at Vanderbilt University. Using the new psychometric tools and technologies being researched and developed by our team of scientists and engineers, the Employment Assessment and Referral program will provide individuals with quantitative measures of cognitive abilities that may be overlooked by IQ tests and other traditional assessments, as well as an overall profile of the individual’s likely strengths and challenges in the employment context. Finally, the Employment Assessment and Referral program will be able to connect individuals with hiring opportunities through our employment partners in the Nashville Model, provide access to assistive technologies designed to help with the transition to work and independence, and work with employers to provide management trainings and recommended workplace accommodations. It is our aim to have a pilot Employment Assessment and Referral program in place within the next two years.

Specialisterne Assessment Program

At this time, the Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce is partnering with Specialisterne USA to provide employment assessment services as part of the Nashville Model, which includes UBS and other major employment partners.

We especially encourage individuals affiliated with one of our partnering high school or college pipeline programs.

Individuals interested in participating in the Specialisterne Assessment Program may fill out this form or contact Dr. David Caudel.

Additional Resources

As we learn of more resources to help in finding employment for those on the spectrum, we shall continue to update our site to reflect this.

Microsoft is committed to being inclusive of people with disabilities, including neuro-diversity (with an Autism Hiring Program), and asks that anyone interested may learn more and apply on this website. They also have an Autism Employer Round-table Job Listing Site.