Autism advocate pushes for more employment opportunities

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan advocate is pushing to get more people with autism employed.

The Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation spend Monday night at Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille in Wyoming during an event highlighting Autism Awareness Month.

Xavier DeGroat says that our communities need more diversity and inclusion in the workforce, especially for those with autism.

Right now, about 75% of people with autism are unemployed.

“I don’t see enough families these day letting their child with autism go out and be on their own and show their ability and rather, they focus too much on their disability,” DeGroat said.

DeGroat served as a White House intern last year. He’s the first White House intern with autism in our country’s history.

“Everyone knows him down in Lansing,” State Rep. Tommy Brann and owner of Brann’s Steakhouse said. He’s a joy to be with … He’s really a strong advocate for them.”

DeGroat is hoping to use his experience with Michigan lawmakers like Brann to spark change.

DeGroat has spearheaded several initiatives including TSA changing its rules for travelers. The TSA has adopted a communication impediment designation for people with autism. TSA agents will also be trained on how to communicate with someone with autism.

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