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Adults with autism hired after NextStep program in Marianna

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 7:01 PM CST
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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Adults with Autism who are part of the NextStep program in Marianna just took the next step in the program: getting a job. Two of them are now working at Catalyst Fabric Solutions.

“It feels like I’m part of a team, and I get to work together with others,” Benjamin Alvarez said.

Both students said working at Catalyst makes them feel like team players.

“To bees, making honey is a really big job and to do that, it takes a lot of smaller jobs, and when you put them all together, it makes a big difference,” Kyle Todd said.

Catalyst became certified with the FSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (FSU CARD). On the door at Catalyst, you’ll see a sticker saying they are an autism friendly business. They said they are currently the only business in Marianna certified by FSU CARD.

“So when she mentioned that we could be autism certified, I thought that was very important for our associates to understand, you know, not only that we’re bringing people in, but how we can communicate and stuff like that,” Operations Manager at Catalyst Jim King said.

Although his business is the first certified in Marianna, King said he hopes other businesses follow suit.

“I think this would be really good for Marianna to employ more people on the spectrum because they can do the job,” King said.

More Autism friendly workplaces means more job opportunities for people like Kyle and Ben.

For more information on FSU CARD and becoming an ‘Autism Friendly Workplace,’ visit https://fsucard.com/.

For more information on the NextStep program, visit https://jacksoncountyfl.gov/autism-training/.

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