Spectrum Works Announces Partnership With Old Navy In Clifton, Welcoming Justin as First Hire


Justin Andros is the first Spectrum Works hire at Old Navy in Clifton.

SECAUCUS, NJ – Spectrum Works, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to expanding employment opportunities for autistic individuals, is thrilled to announce a new partnership with retail leader Old Navy at its store in Clifton, NJ. As part of this partnership, Spectrum Works is delighted to introduce Justin Andros as the first hire at Old Navy in Clifton in the role of Associate, marking a significant milestone in Spectrum Works' mission to create more inclusive workplaces and foster diversity in employment.

“We are very excited to embark on this journey with Old Navy in Clifton, as we believe that fostering diversity in the workplace is not only the right thing to do but also essential for creating vibrant and innovative teams," said Ann Marie Sullivan, Founder and CEO of Spectrum Works. "Justin Andros is a testament to the untapped potential within the neurodiverse community, and we are grateful to Old Navy for recognizing and embracing the value that autistic individuals bring to the workforce."

Spectrum Works is dedicated to providing training, resources, and support to both autistic individuals and their employers to ensure a smooth integration into the workplace. The organization's holistic approach focuses on creating inclusive cultures that celebrate neurodiversity and harness the unique strengths of autistic individuals.

Old Navy's partnership with Spectrum Works aligns with the company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justin Andros' hiring at Old Navy in Clifton is a shining example of the untapped potential that can flourish when given the opportunity to thrive in a supportive and inclusive work environment.

“Justin Andros has been an exceptional associate. He is very easy to communicate with and also very flexible. Anything asked of him gets done with pure efficiency and dedication. Justin has not only been an exceptional worker but also, he is kind and welcoming to customers, which makes him no different from any other associates. All expectations from associates are also expected from him, and he has yet to not meet those expectations,” said Lionardo Gonzales, Assistant Manager of Customer Operations at Old Navy, Clifton. “Justin's main focus for our business is to make sure all of our Clearance Shops are correctly marked and organized. He is always on time, and if he does not understand a task or knows what to do after completing a task, he always asks questions. Not many people have such dedication and the eagerness to do more; it has been a blessing to have Justin a part of our team."

Expressing his gratitude, Justin Andros shared, “I love Spectrum Works. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. I learned how to do different jobs and got to work at different places. Thanks to Spectrum Works, I was able to get a job at Old Navy.”

Justin's parents, George and Karen Andros, also expressed their appreciation for Spectrum Works, stating, “Spectrum Works has given Justin a new sense of confidence and responsibility. He has also become more mature by being a part of the Spectrum Works family. The people at Spectrum Works care. They are genuine and competent, true professionals!”

The importance of giving autistic individuals the opportunity to showcase their abilities extends beyond merely performing the duties of a required job; it lies in recognizing and harnessing the unique strengths they bring to the workplace. Autistic individuals often possess exceptional attention to detail, pattern recognition, and innovative problem-solving skills. By providing them with the chance to contribute, businesses stand to benefit from a diverse and dynamic workforce where neurodiverse people not only meet expectations but consistently exceed them. Embracing neurodiversity fosters creativity, collaboration, and a richer work environment. Spectrum Works believes that by creating inclusive workplaces that celebrate the vibrant contributions of autistic individuals, we not only empower them but also drive innovation and success for the entire team.

According to recent statistics, approximately 1 in 36 children in the United States are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and only approximately 15% of autistic adults are employed. Additionally, due to the scarcity of opportunities in supportive work environments, nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job. Spectrum Works aims to address these challenges by providing job training, employment support, and raising awareness about the valuable contributions autistic individuals can make in the workforce. If you are interested in learning more about starting an autism employment program at your company, please reach out to annmarie.sullivan@spectrumworks.org.

About Spectrum Works:

Spectrum Works is a (501)(c)(3) designated non-profit organization located in Secaucus, New Jersey dedicated to providing job training and employment opportunities for autistic high school students and other young adults on the spectrum. It was founded by Ann Marie Sullivan, an entrepreneur with two decades of experience in building and managing start-up organizations, to address a critical disconnect between an 85% unemployment rate for autistic individuals and their value to the workforce as employees with inherent skills and abilities. In 2013, she partnered with Robert Butters, founder of Green Distribution and FM Expressions, to make the Spectrum Works vision a reality.

The Spectrum Works Job Training and Employment Program incorporates integrated on-the-job training, classroom-based learning with a focus on soft skills and career-building skills, and competitive employment opportunities via partnerships with participating companies. Highly skilled Job Coaches master the students’ responsibilities in order to properly instruct and mentor them throughout the lifecycle from training to placement as interns and employees.

Spectrum Works unique approach educates companies that autistic individuals can be valuable productive workers, provides various programs to help companies build inclusive workforces, and implements programs to assist high schools and universities create job training programs for autistic individuals. Our model helps autistic young adults live up to their potential for stable, successful, economically self-sufficient lives and, at the same time, helps companies create neurodiverse workforces.

Our organization’s philosophy is to use a mixture of identity-first (for example ‘autistic person’) and person-first (for example ‘person with autism’) language, to reflect the diversity of preferences in the autism community.

Resource: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2022/12/02/autistic-or-person-with-autism-it-depends/30154/

To learn more about Spectrum Works, visit their website at www.spectrumworks.org.


press release via: Phil Swibinski

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