Devoted to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities through individualized employment services.
2525 Cabot Drive, Suite 205  Lisle, IL 60532


Ben Sojka is a young man with autism, fitting the typical characteristics one might tend to think of when you hear the word autistic.  Ben strives on routine, needs frequent redirection to stay on task, and has limited communication skills. 

Worried about the uncertainty of his future, Ben's parents sought out resources and found the Project SEARCH program- a unique, specialized job training program, staffed by Parents Alliance Employment Project, hosted by Northwestern Medicine at Central DuPage Hospital.   As part of the Project SEARCH program, Ben would participate in three internships at the hospital, where he could be exposed to and learn different work skills. 


PAEP Lead Skills Trainer, Kiersten Lira, built a great relationship with Ben and was dedicated to making sure that Ben was supported in any way possible to lead to his success.  Kiersten learned early on that Ben had a love for music and incorporated this into Ben's work routines to help him overcome his many struggles that he encountered while completing his internships.  Over the course of the 30 week internship program, this creative strategy ultimately increased Ben's communication skills, motivation to work and his confidence.  He was able to focus, learn tasks, and gain valuable, meaningful work skills that he could transfer into a real paying, community job. 


Shortly after finishing the program, Ben was placed into employment with Aramark at the Morton Arboretum.  Ben was originally hired for a bussing position, but because he had extensive dishwashing training and experience through his internship, Ben is now utilized for both bussing and dishwashing. 


Ben is thriving at work!  He is happy.  He is independent.  He is proud.  Perhaps if you go to the Morton Arboretum, at the close of the cafe after Ben finishes his shift, if you are lucky, you may just be able to hear Ben and his coworkers singing a line from the famous song "Let It Go!" from the movie FROZEN-a tradition that his amazing managers and coworkers at Aramark have incorporated into the daily routine to make Ben feel supported. 


Far too often, parents of individuals with disabilities are left with the "what now?" after high school comes to an end.   Ben's story is a true example of transforming the fear of the unknown into a successful future filled with endless possibility all made possible through employment. 

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through individualized employment services.


Parents Alliance Employment Project works in partnership with the workNet DuPage Career Center

CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) 

has accredited Parents Alliance Employment Project for its Employment Services: Community Employment Services in Job Development, Job Supports, and Job Site Training Programs.

We do not provide direct services through this website; it is intended for informational purposes only.

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