Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never had a paying job and only 16% of persons with autism ever live independently, so when twin brothers Andre and Austin Archer connected with Goodwill Disability Services in 2016 and said they were eager to do both, our team got to work.
In 2017, Andre and Austin were hired as part-time pickers in the ebooks department at ClickGoodwill, Goodwill’s eCommerce division. Due to their hard work, they were promoted to full-time and cross-trained on book auditing, book scanning, shipping, product shelving and have even helped train new employees.
“I like working at ClickGoodwill because I like to learn new things, and I want to be useful for the company,” Austin said.
During their first year of employment, Andre and Austin relied on public transportation to get back-and-forth to work—a journey that often took 90 minutes each way. They worked with the Disability Services team to prepare for the driving test, and both passed and earned a license. They also worked with a Goodwill Guide—a career and life coach—who advised them on saving money and improving their credit score, which helped them purchase their own car. Now they drive themselves to work.
“Getting my driver’s license is one of my proudest moments,” Andre said.
Andre and Austin were awarded a McClelland Scholarship through Goodwill, which they used to complete the University of Maryland’s online program for Computer Networking, earning their associate degrees in 2019. They also moved into their own townhouse in 2019.
“Even with autism, you can still get a job,” Andre said. “You just have to work hard and find the right fit.”
As a result of their successes, Andre and Austin were co-recipients of Goodwill’s Barbara Robinson Memorial Award, which recognizes persons with a disability who have demonstrated a substantial desire to overcome barriers.
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