Job-Train Program

What is the Job-Train Program (JTP)?

The Job-Train Program (JTP) is a summer vocational program developed through community-based research and designed to provide training and early paid-work experience for autistic high school students. The JTP offers employment related skills training, a paid work placement, and employment supports over the course of a 13-week summer program. Launched in 2016, the JTP has undergone iterative improvements, refining its approach based on qualitative and quantitative evaluation and feedback.

The JTP was initially developed in recognition of the lack of paid supportive employment opportunities for autistic high school students. Following the successful implementation of the JTP over the course of two summers (2016 and 2018 – funded by Autism Speaks Canada), ongoing evaluation and enhancement initiatives persist within the JTP framework.

In its latest implementation in 2023, funding was received through the Skills Development Fund, Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. Through CanChild’s collaborative efforts with community partners (McMaster Children’s Hospital, McMaster Career and Employment Student Success Centre, and ASpectrum) participating autistic high school students obtained work placements across McMaster University with the added support of neurodivergent job coaches.

The goals of the Job-Train Program

The JTP was designed to address the following goals:

  • Increase opportunities in training and paid employment experiences for autistic high school students,
  • Develop and examine key outcomes of employment programs for autistic youth,
  • Develop training and evaluation materials for employment supports (employers and/or job coaches), and
  • Develop employment profiles to best communicate the strengths, abilities, and needs within the context of employment to families and schools.

Research Timeline

2016: Implementation and pilot study funded by Autism Speaks Canada Family Services Community grant

2018: Renewed funding from the Autism Speaks Canada Family Services Community grant.

2023-2024: Implementation and evaluation study funded by Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario, Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development: Skills Development Fund Project