July 22, 2021
With Destinee Bullock
Project Career Launch Participant
Destinee Bullock is 20 years old and attended Woodlyne High School before attending Project Career Launch, one of Transition Pathways' school-to-work transition programs. She took the time to discuss the program and thoughts on getting her first job.
What was your experience growing up as an individual on the autism spectrum?
Growing up with autism, it was a little bit harder for me to function sometimes. When people called my name, I was mute and wouldn’t respond to anyone. When I was six, I went to school, but I didn’t know how to function in a classroom setting, and I was in a really big class with a lot of students. Loud noises made my anxiety go up to the point where I would scream or cry and just run out of the room and hide where no one could find me. When I first entered high school, I was very overwhelmed because I was with teens who didn’t have autism or another disability, and it made me feel like an outcast. I felt like this every time I went to school. Now [after participating in Project Career Launch], I have finally found people who I can really talk to about my autism, and they don’t judge me, and they understand how I cope with it and how it makes me different from everyone else.
What are your thoughts about entering the workforce?
My view on joining the workforce is that it can be really challenging as an individual who is on the autism spectrum, because people with disabilities are often viewed as not being capable of doing the job. Sometimes, when you feel like you found the right fit, employers tend to overlook you and go and hire neurotypical people. It can cause you to excessively worry about how your future in employment is going to be. During my time at Project career launch I have a better understanding that I am still able to get a job regardless of my disability, I now know that I cannot be turned away from an opportunity to have a job. I personally wish that there were more companies and organizations who have open minds about hiring people like myself who are on the autism spectrum and who also have different disabilities. There is an opportunity for everyone whether you have a disability or not.
Are you hopeful about finding a job that suits your interests?
I am very hopeful on finding a job that suits my interest because I know that I am a big risk taker, meaning I am willing to go through different obstacles and careers to finally find one that suits me the best but can also be beneficial to my life style in the future.
What is an issue that is important to you?
I personally feel that if the black community had more funding access to resources and programs that are of good quality to help people who are on the autism spectrum and those who are affected by other disabilities, then we would have a more fair chance of gaining more chances of employment for the individuals living with disabilities.