Keystone Human Services announces the international Zero Project recognition of the Adult Community Autism Program as an innovative model for integrated meaningful employment for adults with autism

Keystone Human Services (KHS) announced today that the innovative Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP), launched in 2010 and implemented by KHS subsidiary, Keystone Autism Services (KAS), has been recognized by the prestigious Vienna, Austria-based Zero Project as a model deserving global attention and replication. Among the 443 nominations from 89 countries, ACAP was one of only three US programs to be honored.

ACAP is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Programs, Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, and is a unique managed care program supporting adults with autism in Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, and Lancaster Counties. Since the program’s launch in 2010, KAS has operated as both a managed care organization and a provider of services. ACAP’s managed-care model brings together professionals, such as physicians, psychologists, behavioral health specialists, community support workers, job developers, and supports coordinators, to deliver tailored plans to support people on the autism spectrum. Flexible services and supports give participants freedom to develop skills to reach their goals and participate meaningfully in the community. The program prioritizes collaborating with participants to find work by offering job coaching and guidance while at the same time providing on-site support to companies to accommodate job seekers. In 2020, the program had an employment rate of over 50%, with an average job retention rate of 4.25 years. This dramatic success rate is 2-3 times higher than other programs supporting adults with autism.

“We are honored to be recognized as an innovative leader in integrated employment for adults with autism,” says Charles Hooker, President and CEO of KHS. “Employment is one of the central pathways to real inclusion, and it’s at the core of our services and supports through ACAP, leading to freely given relationships and valued roles.”

During the 2021 Zero Project Conference, KAS presented on the importance and impact of employment in people’s lives. View the video recording of the hour-long presentation.