Due to a shortage of vocational training, inadequate support with job placement, and pervasive workplace discrimination, it has always been difficult for people on the autism spectrum to find jobs. In fact, the United Nations estimates that roughly 80 percent of people with autism are unemployed, even in the areas of the world that have the highest levels of autism awareness.
For many people with autism, their lack of employment does not come from a lack of effort. Creative people on the spectrum are trying all sorts of new tactics to get employers to notice them. Sometimes these tactics succeed in getting the candidate a job. Other times, like in the case of Ryan Lowry, they catch the attention of the entire world.
At 20 years old, Ryan Lowry is in a post-graduate high school program for students with special needs. He currently works as a part-time barista at SimplyBeCoffee, but that job will end after he graduates.
Ryan has begun his job search for when he graduates, and he has decided to add a rather odd thing to his LinkedIn profile in the hopes of gaining favor with potential future employers—a heartfelt and handwritten open letter to companies who may be considering him.
Ryan wanted employers viewing his profile to understand that he has autism and learns in a different way but that he is a hard worker and is worth taking a chance on.
“I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don’t learn like typical people do,” Ryan wrote in the letter. “I would need a mentor to teach me, but I learn quickly, once you explain it, I get it. I promise that if you hire me and teach me, you’ll be glad that you did. I will show up every day, do what you tell me to do, and work really hard.”
Ryan is searching for a position in IT or animation. His post has gone viral with thousands of people commenting to offer support, advice, mentorship, potential job opportunities, and job offers. Ryan has even been featured on a local news channel for all the attention that the letter on his LinkedIn profile has recently achieved.
“I’m in awe and never thought this would happen over one written letter,” says Tracy Lowry, Ryan’s mother. “I’m overwhelmed with joy for Ryan and for it opening a whole topic of conversation among employers to helping … people other than Ryan.”
Ryan appreciates all the help and support people have reached out to offer him. In fact, he even wrote a short song to thank all the people who believe in him. Check it out below.
It appears that Ryan has decided to join Exceptional Minds, a three-year program that teaches people with autism about animation and digital arts. After this next step in his journey, he’ll be looking for a job again, but this time with more experience under his belt. Congratulations, Ryan!Whizzco