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Westchester Non-Profit Teaches Women With Autism Skills To Get Hired

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Westchester County business is helping people living on the autism spectrum to find a job.

Like most graduates, Maki Tezuka craves independence and a job.

"I'm trying to find something to do after college graduation," Tezuka said. "I'm very dependent on my parents for money."

But living with autism creates unique challenges for her as she enters the workforce.

That's the focus of the training sessions Tezuka receives with the non-profit organization Yes She Can, Inc. which was founded by Marjorie Madfis.

"I have a daughter who is now almost 21 who is on the autism spectrum," Madfis said. "Her career ambition is to work at American Girl Place, doing the doll hair. I kept thinking, when she was 11 or 12, how is she going to be able to develop those skills."

Madfis used her business background to create a training model that teaches women with autism the skills required to get hired.

At the Girl AGain store in White Plains, professionals with masters degrees in social work and PHds in physiology volunteer to guide the young woman

"We're focused on socialization skills, emotion regulation skills, and of course the tasks," licensed master social worker Pat Rowan said.

Referred to as interns, the women bring new life to donated American Girl dolls and accessories being sold at a discount. They sort through outfits, label dolls, arrange displays, and input data.

"My favorite part of working with customers is transactions," Tezuka said.

Now that Madfis has seen success with the program the interns are getting hired she has a new mission.

"We need to teach the business and support the business to encourage them to employ people on the spectrum," Madfis said.

Tezuka agrees.

"Adults with autism have a lot of potential and talents," she said.

There are several ways you can get involved: donate your time, money or old American Girl dolls.

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