Meeting the need: ‘Sustainable Futures’ helps adults with autism gain job experience

A local institute is helping to provide sustainable futures for adults with autism. The founders say that the program is not only filling a need, but also opening the door for endless opportunities.
Sustainable Futures in Bedminster is living up to its name – seeing a need and filling it as adults with autism are given the opportunity to experience a multitude of job readiness skills through gardening and greenhouse cultivation.
“You are not going to get any fresher, any better tasting food produced with a lot of love from anybody else,” says Kevin Brothers, executive director of Somerset Hills Learning Institute.
Brothers says that the idea is to help create jobs for adults with autism. The unemployment rate leading into adulthood is roughly 86%.
“The option for meaningful employment or support on the job or with even support at home really drops off,” Brothers says.
He says that this program provides a career or a springboard to other opportunities and it recognizes that autism is not just a childhood disorder- but a lifelong one. Brothers says meeting the needs of people beyond the age of 21 has always been a part of the Somerset Hills Learning Institute’s vision.
“The beauty about hydroponic farming is there’s a routine - plant, get them to a certain point of growth, transplant them to trays, harvest, package sell them and start all over again,” Brothers says.
It also provides delicious foods to local businesses.
“We offer something to restaurants, country clubs, anyone providing food to customers so they could serve more delicious and nutritious food. It’s a win-win for everyone,” says volunteer Mark Rockcastle.
More information can be found HERE.