Programs for Adults with Autism

Employment Programs

Have Dreams employment programs have the goal of helping adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) land meaningful employment – and we have succeeded.  All of the participants in our vocational programs participate in internships and 90% of our program graduates secured competitive, inclusive employment upon completion of their internship. In addition to allowing graduates to help support themselves, we expect these first jobs to open opportunities to begin to build a career.  Most importantly, they embed the graduates in the community, increase their self-sufficiency, provide a meaningful sense of achievement, and build lasting relationshipsFor more information about our adult employment programs, contact Sara LaMontagne at

Have Dreams Academy

Have Dreams Academy Participant at Practice Job Interview at Trustmark

Competitive, inclusive employment opportunities are currently available for individuals with autism 18 years and older who complete an on-the-job workforce training program with the Chicago-area Have Dreams agency. Enrolled participants will enhance their social and communication skills, gain work experience and learn transferable job skills through intensive training, job coaching and real workplace internships.  Interns will:

  • Learn transferable job-skills and gain work experience
  • Improve self-management strategies
  • Enhance their social and communication skills
  • Discern and develop career interest

This innovative program was made possible in part with a grant from The Coleman Foundation.

Career Launch: Your First Job

Register Now for Summer After-School SCILS, Career Launch, and Have Dreams Academy Programs!

Career Launch: Your First Job offers high school students a simulated  work experience that provides a bridge between school and “first time” employment. This course offers students a unique  experience in a simulated retail environment, in our on-site Walgreens, with actual work assignments, a job supervisor, accountability for standards, and daily feedback on key success indicators. 

Program Details

  • Evanston Location:  2020 Dempster Street
  • Monday & Wednesday; 4:00-5:30 p.m.


Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism at Northwestern University


Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism at Northwestern University (PSCA@NU) is a one year business-based transition program for interns with ASD in their last year of high school transition (please note that this program is now open to recent high school graduates, as well​). PSCA@NU is designed for individuals whose goal is competitive employment.  Participants will:

  • Be immersed in the Northwestern University workplace through three internships
  • Be supported by Have Dreams job coaches
  • Acquire employable and marketable work skills
  • Explore a variety of career paths and skill sets.

PSCA@NU is collectively funded and operated by a collaboration of agencies, including: Northwestern University, Project SEARCH, Have Dreams, New York Collaborates for Autism, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Total Link 2 Community, and local school districts. The first Project SEARCH site was founded in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Since then the program has grown to over 300 sites in 6 countries.To read an article in the Chicago Tribune about the 2016 PSCA@NU graduating class, click here. For photos of the PSCA@NU graduation ceremony click here.

Click here for a Project SEARCH Flyer







Business FIT (Finding Individual Talents)


Business FIT (Finding Individual Talents) for Autism: This nine month program offers college capable adults with ASD the opportunity to participate in 2-3 different internships in different corporations, as well as work on the soft skills necessary to be successful in employment. Have Dreams works to develop relationships with various corporations in the community to assist the participants in transitioning into competitive, inclusive employment, upon successful completion of the program.

Life SCILS Program

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Life SCILS (Social, Communication, and Independent Living Skills) Program

Have Dreams’ Life SCILS program is a community-based program that serves young adults with autism post-high school. The program is a balance of volunteer commitments and internships, fitness at the YMCA, and community engagement. These experiences focus on increasing independence, communication and social skills with peers in an inclusive community. Have Dream’s Life SCILS Program is based upon over 20 years of nationally recognized autism expertise and is designed to continue to build upon the accomplishments the participants have achieved. Our goal is for our Life SCILS participants to enjoy the abundant and varied experiences our community has to offer. We understand that this may be overwhelming for some individuals with ASD and can provide a resource list of other programs if needed.

Life SCILS Candidate Profile:

* Slots for candidate’s requiring 1:1 supervision is limited. At this time, we have a waitlist.

  • Autism diagnosis
  • Post high-school
  • Appropriately groomed for community inclusion, internships, volunteer experiences
  • Independent in activities of daily living
  • Demonstrated appropriate self-management skills (i.e. regard for safety of self and others; observance of social standards, ability to transition calmly per schedule, etc.)
  • Able to participate in group activities (with visual supports)
  • Able to independently follow directions (verbal/visual)
  • Able to be successful with a staff to student ratio of 1:4

Program Core: Life *SCILS

  • Socialization: Opportunities for social engagement with peers and our community
  • Communication: Enhancement of communication skills for conversation in social settings
  • Independent: Increasing self-management and responsibility through volunteer, internship and community-based experiences
  • Living: Promoting healthy life style through fitness, nutrition and related instructional activities
  • Skills: Opportunities to learn and practice new skills in a variety of environments

Life SCILS is located at our Evanston location, Monday-Friday, from 9:30am-3:00pm. If you are interested in beginning the registration process, please download the Life SCILS Interest Inquiry Form below. Once complete, forms may be mailed to Andrea Franckowiak or emailed to Have Dreams is located at 2020 Dempster, Evanston, IL, 60202.If there is a waitlist for the program, your name will be placed on our Interest List and you will be notified. A NON-REFUNDABLE deposit of $50 must be received with your inquiry form. When a slot opens up, we will draw from the waitlist and you will be contacted.Click here to download the Life SCILS Interest Inquiry Form:

word-document-150594_960_720 Life SCILS Interest Inquiry Form
(Editable Word Document)