Meet Andy F.
Andy F., 35
For those in the autistic and disabilities community looking for the right career path, I recommend considering your hobbies and your strengths.
In 2010, I graduated from Howard Payne University with my bachelor's degree in kinesiology and a specialization in sports medicine. Today, I'm the lead fitness assistant at the local community recreation center. My duties include assisting customers with fitness equipment while providing customer service to the recreation center. I’m also the right-hand man to the health and wellness coordinator and help with administrative duties, programming and maintenance of the fitness area.
In addition to my career, I work with Special Olympics and a teen government program in my area. I help mentor teens about being a leader and working as a team through team building activities. And I still have more goals in life, which I plan to achieve with integrity and dignity.
What does National Disability Employment Awareness Month mean to you?
What National Disability Employment Awareness month means to me is showing and proving that people with disabilities are just as capable at succeeding in the workplace as others and are worthy of equal opportunities.
What message would you like to convey to people with autism and other disabilities who are currently looking for the right career path or job opportunity?
For those in the autistic and disabilities community looking for the right career path, I recommend considering your hobbies and your strengths. These days, there is practically a career in anything. In addition, be open to having multiple careers in your lifetime. And let your personality show, for it can help you find the best career for you at that moment.
What are you most proud of as it relates to your career?
The thing that I am most proud of in my career growth is that I have been recognized on a few occasions for my customer service skills, by both customers and administration. In addition, I’m proud of the opportunities I have received to help out in multiple roles and special events, such as Special Olympics and leadership groups, and the opportunities I’ve had to advance and discover my career growth.
What are some struggles you’ve faced during your employment journey?
Some of the struggles I have faced in my career are learning to be less shy and believing in myself.
What are some improvements that can make the workplace more inclusive for people on the spectrum?
Some improvements that I recommend for increasing inclusivity in the workforce is to be more open minded and willing to recognize the skills of those on the spectrum and provide equal opportunities. In addition, I recommend being more open to positive education for those on the spectrum and being open to communicating with them—for they can contribute.