Amirreza Jafari, a Queens resident in his thirties, felt that his diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was preventing him from getting the job of his dreams. Amirreza was clearly qualified; he had work experience after obtaining a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a Healthcare Policy Concentration from Baruch College, Marxe School of Public & International Affairs. Still, he struggled to connect with interviewers.
Amirreza came to Goodwill NYNJ with specific career goals. He was determined to get a job in City government or a local university. The Goodwill team helped him refine his resume and cover letter, improve his interviewing skills and communication etiquette in a professional setting.
“Through his writing, I learned of Amirreza’s passion for public health policy, specifically advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities,” says Ashley Shoulders, Goodwill NYNJ Employment Support Specialist. “Amirreza and I spent hours doing interview preparation, and virtual and in-person interview exercises to help ease his anxiety during interviews.” Then he attended job fairs to increase his confidence. Soon, Amirreza landed an interview with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH). He went through an extensive interviewing process that included three virtual interviews after submitting written work.
On March 6, 2023, Amirreza started working full time as Special Assistant to the NYCDOHMH Deputy Commissioner earning a $64,000 annual salary. “Goodwill gave me the technical and moral support that I needed to get to the next level in the interviewing process,” said Amirreza. “Before coming to Goodwill, I felt that because of my disability I could not connect with interviewers and was missing out on job opportunities – all that has changed now.”
Goodwill NYNJ provides long-term supports to connect individuals on the autism spectrum Disorders (ASD) to neuro-diverse jobs. Our Advance program provides Adults (18+) (with ASD, free 1-year employment and careers services in the five boroughs of NYC. Services include resume development, interview preparation, executive functioning groups and one-on-one sessions. Our Advance team uses the person-centered approach to provide the wraparound and supportive services that will help these individuals to successfully secure and retain the job of their choice, and enhance their independence skills. Any New York City resident on the Autism Spectrum who DO NOT qualify to receive services from The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities(OPWDD) and who needs employment services at no cost, qualifies to receive these services from Goodwill’s Advance Program.
For more information or to register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Story submitted by Goodwill NYNJ’s Advance program team:
Ashley Shoulders, Employment Support Specialist
Josephine Quaye, Program Manager