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Virginia Institute of Autism program offering job opportunities

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 10:25 AM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A program at the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA) is providing some new job opportunities for people in the community.

VIAble Ventures teaches people with autism employment skills, while also providing them a source of income.

“Adults with autism are either underpaid or and unemployed,” VIA Adult Coordinator Kate Gariepy said. “It’s really valuable for VIAble Ventures to provide employment opportunities to our people in our community,”

VIA provides this opportunity to anyone who wants it. Right now, it involves crafting and selling candles.

“I can see someone who has this desire to work and they are just taught how to do a skill - make a candle - and then they just light up when I am able to give them a paycheck and they’re like, ‘That’s mine, I earned this,’” Gariepy said.

VIA trains students for a variety of roles so that there is something for everyone.

“We will see what they’re doing and how they’re progressing and where they need their support and help with, and then we’re there to teach,” Gariepy said.

The goal is to extend these opportunities outside of VIA.

“The dream here at VIAble Ventures is for everybody to gain employment skills, and work on their employment soft skills, as well, so we can strengthen their employment skills in order to work out in the community in a competitive environment,” Gariepy said.

VIAble Ventures will be having a sale Saturday, November 20, at VIA where you will have a chance to buy some of the goods the employees have made. It will be from 9 a.m. until noon at 491 Hillsdale Drive.

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