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Team Perspectives

Working at JoyDew

Working at JoyDew is more than meets the eye. JoyDew is a place where you can learn and grow on a personal and professional level all while working with some of the best people in the world. The way we approach teaching and learning with Autistic Adults is something I wish I learned in college. JoyDew is a career development center, focused on high skill level job training as well as academic enrichment and social skill classes. Here at JoyDew I am privileged with the opportunity to positively affect people's lives. As a staff member, I get the chance to use my creativity and life experiences to help teach important skills and life lessons. At JoyDew we use something called Total Communication. Our members range from very vocally verbal to those who communicate with typing, ASL, or a mixture of communication styles. At JoyDew we believe in Autism 2.0, that everyone can learn complex subjects and high skill level jobs no matter their behaviors or diagnosis. Unfortunately, most of our members have not or will not get this type of opportunity outside of JoyDew. The “standards” for Autistic Adults in the job market are unbelievably low. JoyDew is interested in changing the way Autistic Adults are viewed by the world. We are changing other’s perspectives by giving our members the respect, time, support, and information they deserve to be able to flourish in the work force. Members make a point of creating periodic goals for themselves and almost all surpass them by their next review. Building expectations has helped our members succeed here and make significant life changes at home. Members express their hardships and challenges of life, but more so enjoy expressing how building their skills, confidence, and community has given them a more positive outlook on life and their careers. As one of our members has written, “Under the right circumstances anyone doing training can succeed.”

Corinne Reilly-Ferretto, Program Coordinator

...with 100% certainty that the members are meeting and exceed my expectations for classwork

My name is Nicholas Qualters and I have been working as a Senior Team Leader at JoyDew for the past two years. During that time, I have both taught and learned a great deal. I came to the organization looking to expand my experience and try something on the cutting edge of the human services industry. JoyDew is the only organization I found that met my qualifications. Furthermore, as a teacher who is responsible for leading the job training portion of our curriculum, I can say with 100% certainty that the members are meeting and exceed my expectations for classwork. Our program takes a different approach to employment, pairing members with a greater area of specific strength and intelligence with a career, while simultaneously allowing exploration of other high-level employment sectors. This enables our members to do work on a task their strength is better than the neurotypical population. Our members have done things that most of the world have stated they could never have done. However, at our organization we flip that outdated thinking on its head and show that it is not only possible but necessary for evolving our workforce. By that we are enabling people on the autism spectrum to have meaningful careers, as well as improving the service to various industries, due to the fact that there is a whole new population that can complete the work with proper support, from their community of peers and staff to support them. As of now, we have completed our first contract for a client/organization. The contract was completed by our members performing data analytics from public domain open sources. This demonstrates a readiness to work that exceeds the worlds expectations for individuals on the autism spectrum. It is also proving that it is essential that we redefine how we view individuals on the autism spectrum, so we can impact meaningful changes in the lives of those on the spectrum and the industries they are striving to serve. Although I am the teacher to these wonderful young adults, they are the best teachers themselves. They are taking the lead on the steps towards a new generation to optimize care and quality of life through impactful employment.

-Nicholas Qualters