Breakfast for Autism Pilot Program
A breakfast was hosted by Social Odyssey on Thursday to celebrate the passing of the Autism Pilot Program for Employment Supports and Independent Living Services bill. Senator Nelson authored this bill in the Senate and Representative Kim Norton in the House. The bill funds a pilot program in Olmsted County for $68,000 which will begin in October. The program will work to support those with high-functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and nonverbal learning disorders both in employment and independent living. The program will also work with employers in hiring those that fall under these categories. In the words of Pat Dunn-Walker, the passage of the bill is “a symbol of what our community can do when we come together.”
Sen. Nelson dubbed the bill, “The Simon Bill.” In honor of her intern, Simon, a young adult with autism who interned in her Senate office several years ago. “Simon had a few work supports and was an integral and highly successful component of my senate office,” said Sen. Nelson. “There are many more Simons graduating from our schools and it is critical that the work supports be in place to help them become successful contributors in our workforce. This pilot program in Olmsted County may well serve as a model for the entire state,” added Sen. Nelson.