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Empowering Makers of All Abilities – Including Adults With Autism – Through the NxtGen Program


Being a truly inclusive employer means thinking a bit differently about the unique characteristics and talents people of all abilities bring to the workplace. Given the fact that there are currently 10 million unfilled manufacturing jobs globally, being open to a more broad talent base is critical.

The world clearly needs makers. All kinds of makers.

At the same time, research shows the vast majority of adults on the autism spectrum are unemployed or underemployed. By helping bridge that gap, we want to make a valuable difference that’s a win-win.

In partnership with Autism Speaks, we’ve established the NxtGen Program – a community college curriculum focused on skills that will prepare people with autism to pursue skilled-labor jobs in manufacturing.

NxtGen builds upon training programs developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to suit the learning needs of individuals with autism. The program also coaches faculty members to accommodate learners with autism, work with participants to increase self-advocacy, independence and interpersonal skills, and help participants develop a peer network.

Together with Autism Speaks, we’re continuing to expand the NxtGen Program, providing talented young people with the opportunity to advance their careers and bridge the gap between education and progression into the workforce.

As part of the NxtGen platform, opportunities will be created to help people with autism to transition into skilled labor or vocational certification training, and ultimately to assist them into manufacturing careers.

Autism Speaks is integral to helping us build a more diverse and inclusive workforce – supporting the makers, the fighters and the dreamers of all abilities to thrive in life – because together we are more.

See how we're working to Empower Makers and close the skilled trades gap