Innovative Practice 2021 on Inclusive Employment and ICT

Individualized supports help adults with autism find jobs

Keystone Human Services is an US-based NGO supporting people with disabilities. Starting in 2010, Keystone’s Adult Community Autism Project (ACAP) is a government-funded project working across four counties in the state of Pennsylvania, offering a range of individualized services to support adults. ACAP maintains strong relationships with local employers.

“ACAP helped me all the way. With their support, I found a job I wanted. Well, I did and so can you!”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:KAS Adult Community Autism Project
Organisation:Keystone Human Services/Keystone Autism Services (KAS)
of Implementation
United States of America
Start Year2010
Sub-CategoryA project of Civil Society


  • From 2010 to 2019 the number of participants grew from 37 to 180 per year
  • In 2020, there were 180 participants and 95 of whom found employment. The average retention rate is 4.25 years


In the United States adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder lose the support of government services once they turn 21.


ACAP’s individualized support brings together a variety of professionals, such as physicians, psychologists, behavioural health specialists, community support workers, and support coordinators, to deliver tailored plans to support people on the Autism Spectrum. The organization works with the participants and their company network to locate employment opportunities.

ACAP supports last as long as the individual is a participant in the programme, and can be increased or decreased at any time. The programme prioritizes transitioning people from subminimum-wage or sheltered workshop settings into the open labour market. It facilitates this inclusion by offering job coaching to candidates and on-site support to companies in accommodating jobseekers. Participants find jobs mostly in the service sector, such as sales and food preparation, as well as maintenance and production.

In 2020, there were 180 participants and 95 of whom found employment. The average retention rate is 4.25 years.

A male person is enjoying arranging flowers in a working environment.

Mike Bomberger, an ACAP participant, working at Green Leaf Plants in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


ACAP operates as a Managed Care Organization, which receives a per-member per-month rate from the government, which is recalculated every year. Seventy-three per cent of the expenses is for disability-related services provided directly by ACAP, 8 per cent is for services provided by a network of health care providers, and 19 per cent is for the administrative costs.

Keystone has been promoting the success of the programme, including with national workgroups in the US, so that when additional funding becomes available it will be ready to grow and develop. Seven to ten other states are already actively looking at implementing the managed care models.


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