A Place of Belonging
Written by BroadFutures
Since 2013, BroadFutures has worked to transform the workforce into a more equitable space for neurodivergent young people. We believe that young neurodivergent people have limitless potential and represent a significant untapped labor source for employers. By connecting young people to internships across different fields and utilizing our innovative support model, we help unlock that potential.
BroadFutures alum Christian Souvenir’s journey with us is an incredible testimony to the transformational power of our programs. Christian has ADHD and is autistic. Growing up, he also experienced other learning difficulties, including a speech delay and challenges interpreting social cues. Christian went on to earn a degree in Information Technology from Lawrence Technological University. Despite being highly qualified for a number of positions, Christian found himself unemployed after searching the job market for months. Eager to utilize the skills he cultivated during his undergraduate experience, Christian turned to BroadFutures, where he took the first step down a path towards great success.
With BroadFutures’ support, Christian was able to complete two internships. One was with American Institutes of Research (AIR) where he assisted in upgrading technology, managing systems and processes, and logging inventory. Impressed by his work ethic and adaptability, AIR offered Christian a full-time position as Management Assistant. He has now been happily employed at AIR for almost three years.
When asked about his time with BroadFutures, Christian shared, “Before I came to BroadFutures, I didn’t know about neurodiversity. As I learned more, I realized that Autism, ADHD, ADD, and others all count as neurodiversity. BroadFutures gave me a place where I belonged.”
Vicky Geis, Senior Human Capital Partner at AIR shared her perspective as an employer partner. “There are organizations that want to participate but don’t know how… Once you experience these young people, your company benefits. There’s no reason you wouldn’t. BroadFutures provides the entire template and schema.”
“In a world where there is a labor shortage, there is such benefit to having the perspective (…) these individuals can bring to an organization,” Geis added. Without BroadFutures, Christian said, “I would still be looking for a job and wouldn’t have the community that I do now.”
Christian and AIR’s story of convergence is a testament to the exceptional outcomes of BroadFutures’ programs for hundreds of participants. As we reflect on ten years of programming, we remain committed to our mission of ensuring accessibility and sharing stories like Christian’s.
Learn more about BroadFutures by visiting their website, where you can find information about their programs for neurodivergent young people and for employers looking to partner with them. You can also support their mission and work by joining them for their 10th Anniversary Celebration on October 21.