Program helps autistic workers find their niche

By May 9, 2016In the News
Power to the Grid empowers adults on the autism spectrum, giving them employment opportunities where they can realize their full potential.

Read the full article at Detroit News: Michael Sanchirico is a whiz with a camera and works effortlessly with software like Photoshop. Yet for years, the talented artist and writer toiled at a retail job, sweeping floors, unloading trucks and feeling frustrated that employers couldn’t see his potential.

With the help of a program known as Power to the Grid, Sanchirico now collaborates with the staff at Detroit’s American Jewelry & Loan to create product photography and online sales projects. It’s a position ideally suited for Sanchirico, who is on the autism spectrum and struggled with the hiring process.

“I sent out so many resumes, but I never got a ‘yes’ after an interview,” said Sanchirico, who lives in Brighton and has a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University. “(Power to the Grid) has been invaluable.”

Created in 2014, Power to the Grid is a business focused on the hiring, training and placement of gifted individuals with autism, such as Sanchirico, said co-founder Stefan Kogler. Kogler said his goal is to show that if Power to the Grid can work in Detroit’s biggest pawn shop, it can work for employers of all sizes and industries.

American Jewelry & Loan was the right partner to launch Power to the Grid in a real-life workplace, said Kogler. Owners Les and Seth Gold wanted to expand their online stores, they appreciated smart risks and they understood the group’s approach. The shop’s on-site training center provides entry-level jobs with an opportunity to advance both at American and with other employers.

Read the full article at Detroit News: