The vision of Shifting the outcome for those diagnosed with Autism came through Vicky Westra, who is the mother of a young adult who was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. After 22 years in Corporate America, Vicky left her senior leadership role and opened the first Artistas Café on January 2011 through a partnership with Mercedes-Benz of Tampa. Artistas Café is a first-of-its-kind Café employing a front line team who have all been diagnosed with autism.
Artistas has developed a proven, unique and comprehensive Autsim Employment training program that helps to overcome the challenges faced by people with autism, including modules such as: learning and interpreting social cues, teamwork and multi-tasking skills, strengthening communication skills, emotional and social awareness which all lead to self-confidence and empowerment.
Because of the success of the Artistas Café program, the vision is now to expand the program and create the first Autism Ready community.
This vision will entail involvement from four key groups:
1. Young Adults with Autism –Will learn job skills that match their unique talents and abilities and then be matched to local internship and employment opportunities with local businesses. At the same time, through the Co-Living Center, they will learn the skills necessary to live independently
2. Parents/Caregivers – Will receive education/training to promote an environment that will maximize the success of their loved one with autism
3. Businesses – Will receive education/training to become ‘Autism-Ready’ and successfully employ young adults with autism
4. Community at Large – Will receive education/training about Autism and the shift we can create to better serve the Autism Community
EMPLOYMENT • INDEPENDENT LIVING
Join our Journey to develop people with Autism's "Uniqabilities"
so they can live, work and play in our inclusive communities.
The goal of the program is to shift the outcomes that exist today for people diagnosed in 4 key areas:
AUTISM TODAY AUTISM SHIFT
90% Unemployment Rate 90% Employment
70% Dependent Living Rate 70% Independent Living
Little to No Community Integration Full Community Integration
By joining the shift, you can be a part of changing the outcome for those
diagnosed with Autism and shift the perspectives people have about the capabilities of those diagnosed.