BUSINESS BRIEF: GameStop Awards $250,000 In Grants To Increase Employment Readiness For People With Autism

(NOTE: GameStop has a Wilmington location at 246 Main Street.)

NEW YORK, NY — To help tackle the high unemployment or underemployment rate the vast majority of adults with autism face, GameStop and Autism Speaks are awarding up to $250,000 in funding for scholarships and programs as part of the NXT GEN Coders Program powered by GameStop. As part of the inaugural grant program, which is funded by GameStop and administered by Autism Speaks, 14 organizations from coast to coast each will receive grants of up to $25,000.

The NXT GEN Coders Program powered by GameStop launched in 2018, and provides financial funding to organizations, schools and universities that teach digital literacy and coding to people with autism, to help prepare them for the competitive job market. With a special focus on teens and college-age students, the NXT GEN Coders Program is also open to children and adults on the autism spectrum, from preschool age through retirement.

In its first year, the NXT GEN Coders Program received 38 proposals from 16 states. Applicants included community-based coding academies, not-for-profit service providers and large universities. All qualified proposals were evaluated by professionals within the coding industry and adults with autism who work in computing and gaming.

Grant recipients will use the funds for tuition assistance, program enhancements or staffing to better support participants who have autism. Recipients were selected based on their proven capability to serve the diverse needs of people with autism, sustainability of the program, its potential for replication and its ability to be scaled to fit growing need.

Grant Recipients:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield – Stoneham, Mass.
  • Coding Autism – Westlake Village, Calif.
  • Families Helping Families NOLA – New Orleans, La.
  • Friends of Green Chimneys – Brewster, N.Y.
  • Islands of Brilliance – Milwaukee, Minn.
  • MacDonald Training Center – Tampa, Fla.
  • National Foundation for Autism Research – San Diego, Calif.
  • nonPareil Institute – Plano, Texas
  • Tech Kids Unlimited – New York City, N.Y.
  • Tech Talent South – Charlotte, N.C.
  • The Specialists Guild – San Francisco, Calif.
  • We Connect the Dots – Westbury, N.Y.
  • Woodhaven Learning Center – Columbia, Mo.
  • Yukodit – Montclair, N.J.

“We are grateful to GameStop for its commitment to the autism community,” said Thomas Frazier, Ph.D., Autism Speaks chief science officer. “NXT GEN Coders grants will expand access to programs teaching skills that are in high demand, positioning more people with autism for careers and helping them achieve greater independence.”

“At GameStop we believe the key to building inclusive, responsible communities starts with supporting the career goals of not just our associates but also those of our guests,” said Angela Venuk, vice president of IT at GameStop. “It is our hope that by establishing the NXT Gen Coders Program the coding and digital opportunities become innumerable for individuals on the autism spectrum.”

About Autism

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. We now know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. A combination of genetic and environmental factors influence the development of autism, and autism often is accompanied by medical issues such as GI disorders, seizures and sleep disturbances. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children.

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. To find resources, join a fundraising walk or make a donation, go to www.AutismSpeaks.org.

About GameStop

GameStop, the world’s largest video game retailer, offers the best selection of new and pre-owned video gaming consoles, accessories and video game titles, in both physical and digital formats. GameStop also offers fans a wide variety of pop vinyl toys, collectibles, board games and more. Through GameStop’s unique buy-sell-trade program, gamers can trade in video game consoles, games, and accessories, as well as consumer electronics for cash or in-store credit. The retailer operates thousands of locations around the world under the GameStop, EB Games and Micromania retail brands. Fans can find their local GameStop store using the company’s online store locator tool.

(NOTE: The above press release is from GameStop.)

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