Employing Autism

Local News

In partnership with Wells Fargo, Mercyhurst University is expanding opportunities for those with diverse abilities, businesses and corporations ‘Employing Autism’. 

Studies are finding that pieces of the autistic brain work more efficiently than other neuro-typical individuals. 

Mark Biletnikoff is grateful for a hardworking employee like Zach Aleksandrowicz.  Zach, who has autism, was hired at First Amendment Tees two years ago through a program at the Barber Center.  At first, Biletnikoff not knowing how Zach would fit in. 

“Fast forward… he’s an absolute amazing employee, I mean, he shows up every day, he’s never late…”

Expanding Zach’s hours and responsibilities, knowing he will excel.  

Mercyhurst University welcoming employees of Wells Fargo to campus.  Among the group, Tyler Leech, an operations processor for the bank.  Leech says, “I had the interview and the manager hired me on the spot.”

Leech serves as an advocate for businesses and corporations, hiring more employees with autism.  

Wells Fargo has donated $15,000 for the Mercyhurst University Autism Initiative, further expanding its involvement.  The initiative helps to find students with autism meaningful employment after graduation.

Director of the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst University, Bradley McGarry, tells us, “They not only just fit in, but in some positions, in vocational tracks, they can perform those tasks at a superior level to the rest of us.”

At Mercyhurst, Leech removes his shoes and speaks to the crowd barefoot, promoting his Barefoot Autism Challenge.  “I’ve learned from my experiences that I define my autism, not my autism defines me.”

That $15,000 donation will be put towards a sailing trip on the US Brig Niagara for the autism initiative students. 

And, if you want to learn more about the Barefoot Autism Challenge, you can visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BarefootAutismChallenge/.

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