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Tampa thrift store to employ young adults with autism

Posted: 11:02 AM, Mar 13, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-13 15:08:31Z

It's a staggering statistic: 90% of young adults with autism are unemployed. 

"It shouldn't be that way because they have a lot of value to bring to the workplace," says Jenifer Band. 

That's one reason why her family started the Autism Awareness Shop. Another reason, her son Cody has autism. 

The non-profit store opened this month and hopes to have a grand opening sometime in April. The store sells gently used items and Autism Awareness products. 

Come April, they'll start a vocational program. They'll train young adults with autism to work in the store and get the necessary training they need to be successful in any job they choose. 

"To help them find out what their strengths are. A lot of young adults with autism aren't exposed to different things to find out what they're good at," explains Band. 

And that's what the program will hope to do. 

The young adults will get training at the store and with their online store. They'll have opportunities in customer service, marketing and computer skills. 

The store will employ about 12 part-time workers, mostly those with autism.

The Autism Awareness Shop is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.. It's located at 2908 W. Hillsborough Avenue. 

To find out more, click here