Essential Pittsburgh: Placing Pittsburgh Adults with Mental Health Issues in STEM-Related Jobs

Apr 2, 2015

In commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day, Lu Randall, Executive Director at Autism Connection of PA and April Artz,Coordinator for the EmployAble program at the Squirrel Hill Career Development Center, are working to place adults with mental health issues in STEM jobs. The EmployAble program, which provides supportive services along with their job placements, acquired the funds to include services for adults on the autism spectrum in 2014.

Asked about the challenges faced by job seekers on the autism spectrum, Artz explains:

"When people go to apply for a job, there's still a lot of concern on their end about disclosing or talking about it to their employer. And I think in some ways that is justified because there is still a lot of misunderstanding despite the fact [that] this is very prevalent, and this is sort of being a human, we still have a lot of stigma and anxiety around this."

Explaining her outlook on helping the people she works with to seek employment, Randall says: 

"I see my role, in particular, as providing kind of a cross-cultural explanation of a group that's really not well understood. And it's very similar, when we listen to the issues, to any other minority groups in the past or currently who have a hard time being taken seriously, being respected, not having stereotypes put out there that are untrue."

Also in the program, Pitt professor Michael Kenney talks about why some Americans become interested in joining ISIS, and travel contributor Elaine Labalme gives suggestions on where to go for some extra March Madness.

 

Countering Violent Extremism (starts at 0:00)

Federal authorities recently arrested a National Guardsman who supported the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. The guardsman was allegedly planning an attack on a military post in Illinois. How much of a threat are terrorist-inspired attacks to the United States and Europe? How should they be addressed? We'll pose those questions to our guest. Michael Kenney, associate professor of international affairs at Pitt. Kenney is the organizer of the upcoming conference at Pitt "Countering Violent Extremism in the US and the EU."

World Autism Awareness Day (starts at 26:22)

In commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day, Lu Randall, Executive Director at Autism Connection of PA and April Artz,Coordinator for the EmployAble program at the Squirrel Hill Career Development Center, are working to place adults with mental health issues in STEM jobs. The EmployAble program, which provides supportive services along with their job placements, acquired the funds to include services for adults on the autism spectrum in 2014.

March Madness Travel (starts at 41:31)

It’s April and March Madness is still at the forefront of office pools and sports pages. As the final four get ready to play contributor Elaine Labalme, who tweets about food and travel under the Twitter handle New Girl in Town, has some travel suggestions connected to the teams headed to the big dance.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here