Ali RosenMay 24, 2017, 10:49 pmMay 25, 2017, 7:20 am

This White Plains nonprofit is inspiring autistic women to enter the workforce

‘Yes She Can’ provides practical business skills to ladies who are looking to empower themselves and start a career

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An important program called “Yes She Can” in White Plains is providing the training that women with autism need to apply for a job, helping local women gain the confidence to find a career path.

“There was this position in my town for a waitress at a local restaurant and my dad was like, ‘why don't you go and ask about it?’ And I just couldn't do it. I was just too scared,” Yes She can participant Julia Monaco said.

Julia says she decided to join Yes She Can to overcome her social anxiety.

“I came to this place because I had a lot of social anxiety about going out and trying to find even the simplest job,” she said.

Julia is not alone. Only about half of the 3.5 million Americans with autism have gotten a job eight years out of high school.

“There’s a huge number of people in Westchester County who need to be working—people with disabilities, autism, who need and want to be working,” Yes She Can Training Director Lesli Cattan said.

And even though one out of every four people diagnosed with autism are female, Cattan says a lot of the programs that are available are focused on male job seekers.

“Often times, the programs that are out there that offer training tend to be very boy-focused…so this is a wonderful opportunity for young women to come to a place where they are accepted,” she said.

Behind the scenes of the store's operation are women with autism working with female job coaches as part of the Yes She Can program.

“We are not only focused on teaching people different kinds of business processes, so being able to do research, being able to enter data into spreadsheets, but we're also teaching them to do things that really aren't taught in school,” Yes She Can Presiden Marjorie Madfis said.

Marjorie created the nonprofit when she realized that there was a gap in the knowledge and skill sets her daughter received in public school special education.

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