CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Dozens gathered at CitySpace in Charlottesville for a Tom Tom community workshop on Wednesday, April 11.

It focused on developing "microenterprise,” or employing adults with autism or other disabilities.

Research shows fewer than 20 percent of young adults with autism have any kind of regular job experience connecting them to the community, and experts say that needs to change.

"Having a job is more than just having money in your pocket,” says Ethan Long, the executive director of the Virginia Institute of Autism. “That's important, but it's really about - it helps define who we are. It gives us dignity. And we want to make certain that all adults with autism have that opportunity."

Wednesday night’s panel agrees - the ultimate goal is to provide sustainable, gainful employment for adults on the autism spectrum.