MetroFocus: February 9, 2022

Encore: July 22, 2022

I AM AUTISTIC AND THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE

What does it mean to be autistic? How do you think? How do you feel? How do you find a job when your disability carries a stigma that blocks you from getting your foot in the door? Tonight Ian McHenry, who is autistic, takes us into his journey on the spectrum and then into the workforce with Ryan Casey, founder and executive director of ClearWeave Careers– a company pairing and coaching autistic adults and the companies that hire them.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE BOOTER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

WORKERS HAVE BEEN LEAVING THEIR JOBS IN MASS NUMBERS OVER THE PAST YEAR IN A PHENOMENON THAT IS BEING DUBBED THE GREAT RESIGNATION.

NOW AS A RESULT, MANY EMPLOYERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE BEING LEFT WITH POSITIONS THAT THEY'RE STRUGGLING TO FILL.

CREATING A POTENTIAL MASSIVE STAFFING PROBLEM FOR THEIR COMPANIES.

LUCKILY THERE'S AN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM.

CLEAR WEAVE CAREERS IS A CONNECT-BASED GROUP THAT'S WORKING TO CONNECT NEURODIVERGE ANT INDIVIDUALS WHO WANT TO WORK WITH COMPANIES THAT ARE LEG TO HIRE.

ACCORDING TO CLEAR WEAVE, CAREERS WITH THE AUTISTIC ADULT COMMUNITY IS VASTLY UNDERSUES ARE USED AND A VASTLY UNDEREMPLOYED SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION.

THEY'VE LONG BEEN IGNORED BUT ARE READY, WILLING, AND ABLE TO GET TO WORK TO FILL THESE EMPLOYMENT GAPS.

SO JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS THE IDEA IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CLEAR WEAVE CAREERS, RYAN CASEY.

RYAN, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME, JENNA.

AND ALSO JOINING US TODAY IS ONE OF CLEAR WEAVE CAREER'S CLIENTS, IAN McHENRY.

IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON THE SHOW TOO.

HI, THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

IAN, I WANT TO START WITH YOU.

THIS IS REALLY ABOUT THE INDIVIDUALS THAT CLEAR WEAVE IS TRYING TO SERVE.

IS JUST CAN YOU SORT OF PAINT A PICTURE FOR OUR AUDIENCE, WHAT IS IT LIKE LIVING AS A NEURODIVERGENT ADULT, AND HOW AT LEAST DO YOU THINK THAT THAT'S IMPACTED YOUR DAY TO DAY?

SO IT IMPACTS MY DAY TO DAY IN BASICALLY EVERY WAY POSSIBLE.

BECAUSE IT'S NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN TURN OFF.

I DON'T REALLY HAVE ANYTHING TO COMPARE IT TO, BUT I SEE PEOPLE, I SEE PEOPLE WALKING DOWN THE STREET AND TALKING, AND I'M LIKE, I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THEM.

I'M ABLE TO IGNORE IT AND MOVE ON, BUT IT'S JUST -- EVERY TIME I SEE SOMEONE, I KNOW THAT THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT ME THAT'S JUST DIFFERENT THAN THEM.

AND THAT AFFECTS BASICALLY EVERYTHING.

ESPECIALLY DURING THE WORK -- IN THE WORKPLACE.

OF COURSE.

AND ALSO, FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT HAVE -- I'M SURE PEOPLE IN THE INTRO HEARD ME USE THE WORD NEURO DIVERGENT AND MIGHT HAVE BEEN CONFUSED UNTIL I SAID THE WORD AUTISTIC.

SO CAN YOU JUST TAUGHT THE WORD NEURODIVERGENT AND WHY HAS THAT GAINED POPULARITY?

SO AS FAR AS I'M AWARE, THE WORD FIRE OWEDIVERGENT REFERS TO ANYONE WITH SOME SORT OF MENTAL DISABILITY OR OTHERWISE DIFFERENT MENTAL -- SORRY, TRYING TO FIND THE RIGHT WORDS FOR THIS.

ABSOLUTELY.

SEVERAL PEOPLE DON'T LIKE THE WORD DISABILITY.

I PERSONALLY DON'T MIND IT, BUT SOME PEOPLE DO, SO I'M TRYING TO BE SUPPORTIVE, I GUESS.

NEURODIVERGENCE, NEUROATYPICAL, THEY'RE ALL WORDS TO DESCRIBE SOMEONE WHOSE BRAIN DOES NOT FUNCTION THE WAY THE AVERAGE PERSON'S BRAIN DOES, I SUPPOSE IS THE BEST WAY TO PHRASE IT.

OKAY, NO, THAT'S AN EXCELLENT EXPLANATION.

SO RYAN, I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD TELL US FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, AT LEAST, WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES THAT NEURODIVERGENT PEOPLE TEND TO FACE, JUST ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?

THEN OF COURSE BUILDING ON THAT, HOW WOULD THAT APPLY TO THEIR ABILITY TO JOIN THE WORKFORCE?

WELL, IT AFFECTS THEM IN MANY WAYS.

AND PRIMARILY BECAUSE IT'S A SOCIAL DISORDER, IT'S A COMMUNICATION DISORDER.

SO ONE, YOU KNOW, ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE WHOLE DIFFERENT PHASES OF THE EMPLOYMENT PROCESS, IT CAN AFFECT THEM.

SO FOR INSTANCE, IN THE BEGINNING, IT COULD BE REPLYING TO A RECRUITER.

HOW DOES ONE APPROACH THAT?

HOW DOES ONE WRITE BACK AN EMAIL?

I'M FINDING A LOT OF MY CLIENTS DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.

AND IT IS VERY RELATED AND CORRELATED WITH BEING NEURODIVERGENT.

AND THAT'S TYPICALLY AUTISM SPE SPECTRUM.

I THINK IAN DID A GOOD JOB AT DESCRIBING THAT.

BUT IT'S TYPICALLY PEOPLE ON THE SPECTRUM.

AND SO THE INTERVIEW ALSO IS A MAJOR ISSUE.

BECAUSE THEY'RE WONDERING IF THEY'RE ACTING APPROPRIATELY, WHAT'S THE ETIQUETTE, YOU KNOW, AM I CATCHING ALL THE NONVERBAL CUES THAT MAY BE COMING THEIR WAY?

ARE THEY INFERRING CORRECTLY?

SO IT'S A WHOLE PHASE.

THEN TRAINING AND THEN MAINTENANCE ON THE JOB TOO CAN BE AN ISSUE, AGAIN BECAUSE IT'S A SOCIAL/COMMUNICATION DISORDER.

I DO WANT TO UNPACK SOME OF THE THINGS YOU JUST MENTIONED.

BUT FIRST, I JUST WANT TO ASK IF YOU COULD SORT OF -- YOU TOUCHED ON IT, BUT WHAT ARE SOME OF AT LEAST THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS THAT SEEM TO BE PREVENTING MORE NEURODIVERGENT INDIVIDUALS FROM BEING FULL-FLEDGED MEMBERS OF THE WORKFORCE AND FULLY CONSIDERED?

AND THEN HOW IS CLEAR WEAVE WORKING TO DISPROVE THOSE OR DISMANTLE THOSE IDEAS?

I THINK THERE'S STILL A STIGMA OUT THERE THAT SOMEONE ON THE SPECTRUM, SOMEONE WHO'S NEURODIVERGENT, MAY NOT BE AS GOOD AN EMPLOYEE OR MAY HAVE NOT AS MUCH INTELLIGENCE OR CAPABILITIES.

AND THAT IS NOT TRUE.

IN FACT, PEOPLE ON THE SPECTRUM IN CERTAIN AREAS CAN BE NECESSARILY MORE INTELLIGENT THAN WHAT'S CALLED A NEUROTYPICAL.

THAT'S THE AVERAGE POPULATION PERSON.

WITHOUT BEING NEURODIVERGENT.

SO WHAT HAPPENS IS, IS THEY KIND OF GET UNDERESTIMATED.

AND TO TOUCH ON WHAT KIND OF IAN MENTIONED IS THAT IT IS A KIND OF DIFFERENT THINKING, DIFFERENT THOUGHT PROCESS THAT THEY HAVE, A DIFFERENT COGNITION.

SO IF COMPANIES, CORPORATIONS, CAN UNDERSTAND THAT KIND OF DIFFERENT MODE OF THOUGHT, YOU CAN STILL PLUG THOSE PEOPLE IN, SO TO SPEAK, AND STILL UTILIZE THEM AS ASSETS.

AND I THINK THAT THERE'S NOT ENOUGH TRAINING WITH A LOT OF COMPANIES.

SO WE ALSO DO THE TRAINING WHERE WE EDUCATE AND GO THROUGH SOME OF THE DEFICITS, THE CHALLENGES, BUT ALSO THE STRENGTHS AND THE SOLUTIONS TO BE ABLE TO UTILIZE THIS, LIKE I SAID, UNDERESTIMATED POPULATION.

IAN, I WANT TO COME BACK TO YOU AND ASK, WHAT WAS YOUR -- I GUESS, WHAT WAS IT LIKE GETTING INTO, WHEN YOU FIRST GOT INTO THE WORKFORCE, BEFORE YOU STARTED WORKING WITH CLEAR WEAVE?

SO I DIDN'T ACTUALLY FULLY GET INTO THE WORKFORCE UNTIL CLEAR WEAVE SHOWED UP.

I WAS TRYING.

I TRIED DIFFERENT PLACES AND AGENCIES.

NONE OF THEM REALLY WORKED OUT.

I WOULD SHOW UP TO A MEETING, THEN I WOULDN'T SEE THEM FOR A MONTH OR TWO, AND I'D JOBLESS THE ENTIRE TIME.

RYAN WAS ABLE TO IMMEDIATELY -- WE HAD WEEKLY MEETINGS.

HE CAME TO ME.

THAT WAS VERY SIGNIFICANT.

AND HE GOT ME A -- IT WASN'T A JOB, HE GOT ME A VOLUNTEER POSITION WITHIN -- I THINK WITHIN A MONTH.

WOW.

AND SO HAS THAT -- SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WE'VE HEARD RYAN MENTIONING ABOUT NONVERBAL CUES, WHICH I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE PERHAPS TAKE FOR GRANTED HOW MUCH WE RELY ON THOSE FOR COMMUNICATION.

OR THINGS LIKE ENGAGING WITH OTHER PEOPLE, SUPERVISORS IN THE WORKPLACE.

HOW HAS CLEAR WEAVE HELPED YOU NAVIGATE THAT?

SO HE WAS ABLE TO HELP ME FIND JOBS THAT REQUIRE MINIMAL -- LIKE MINIMAL INTERACTION WITH PEOPLE, ASIDE FROM CO-WORKERS.

SO I WOULDN'T BE DEALING WITH CUSTOMERS, FOCUSED ON JOBS THAT DIDN'T HAVE THAT.

AVOID MY WEAKNESSES, IT'S WHAT NEUROTYPICAL PEOPLE DO, IT'S JUST MY STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES ARE DIFFERENT FROM THEIRS.

ANOTHER MAJOR THING HE DID WAS, LIKE I MENTIONED EARLIER, HE HAD WEEKLY MEETINGS, AND HE CAME TO ME.

WHICH WAS EXTREMELY HELPFUL.

BECAUSE AT A TIME, I HAD A VERY -- I HAD A HARD TIME GETTING PLACES.

AND ESPECIALLY IF THE MEETINGS WERE MONTHS APART.

WEEKLY MEETINGS WHERE HE CAME TO ME ACTUALLY HELPED ME HAVE THE MEETINGS IN THE FIRST PLACE, WHICH WAS EXTREMELY -- WHAT'S THE WORD -- IT WAS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO ME GETTING THE JOB.

OKAY.

AND SO NOW, I GUESS, WHERE ARE YOU?

FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO REALLY TRY TO PAINT A PICTURE.

BECAUSE BEFORE WE GET TO YOUR NOW, WHEN YOU SAID THAT PRIOR TO WORKING WITH CLEAR WEAVE AND WITH RYAN SPECIFICALLY, YOU WERE HAVING TROUBLE FINDING A JOB.

CAN YOU GIVE US AN IDEA OF HOW OLD -- HOW LONG THIS WENT ON AND HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED WORKING WITH THE COMPANY?

IT WAS A VERY LONG TIME AGO.

I DON'T REMEMBER THE FULL DETAILS.

BUT I REMEMBER GOING TO A FEW GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FOR -- IT WAS -- I THINK IT WAS AT LEAST A YEAR THAT I WAS TRYING DIFFERENT THINGS TO GET A JOB.

BECAUSE I KNEW THAT I WASN'T ABLE TO JUST WALK INTO A STORE, ASK FOR AN APPLICATION.

I KNEW I NEEDED MORE SUPPORT THAN THAT.

SO MY MOM WAS HELPING ME.

SHE WAS ACTUALLY THE ONE THAT FOUND RYAN.

BUT SHE WAS LOOKING FOR DIFFERENT AGENCIES, PUBLIC, PRIVATE, GOVERNMENT, TO HELP ME FIND WAYS TO WORK.

BECAUSE I WASN'T DOING ANYTHING, I WASN'T EVEN LEAVING THE HOUSE.

SO I REALLY NEEDED SOMETHING, EVEN IF IT WASN'T WHAT I WANTED, I JUST NEEDED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE.

AND THEN SHE FOUND RYAN, AND THINGS CHANGED.

OKAY.

AND I THINK IT WENT ON FOR ABOUT A YEAR BEFORE SHE FOUND RYAN.

WAS THAT LIKE -- AGAIN, JUST TRYING TO GIVE PEOPLE A BETTER SENSE OF HOW THIS AFFECTS SOMEONE, A YOUNG ADULT'S LIFE.

WAS THIS LIKE A YEAR AFTER COLLEGE, A YEAR AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?

YES, THIS WAS -- SO I HAD TO LEAVE COLLEGE FOR MENTAL HEALTH REASONS.

AND FOR THE YEAR AFTERWARDS, I WAS TRYING TO FIND A JOB BECAUSE I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING WITH MY LIFE, BECAUSE I HAD -- BECAUSE ALL OF MY LIFE -- I HAD SCHOOL, SUDDENLY NOW I HAD NOTHING.

AND IT WAS VERY SUDDEN, AND IT WAS HARD TO ADJUST.

AND I WAS TRYING TO FIND SOMETHING TO DO, AND I WAS UNSUCCESSFUL.

OKAY.

SO THEN RYAN, IS THE STORY THAT IAN TOLD US, IS THIS TYPICAL OF A LOT OF THE CLIENTS THAT CLEAR WEAVE WORKS WITH, THAT THERE WAS JUST ABSOLUTELY NO LUCK UNTIL YOUR GROUP, YOUR COMPANY, WAS ABLE TO STEP IN AND REALLY PROVIDE SOME GUIDANCE, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, SUPPORT?

I HEAR THIS STORY QUITE OFTEN.

AND SO PEOPLE SEEM TO COME TO ME AS A LAST RESORT.

SOMETIMES THEY COME TO ME AT THE BEGINNING.

BUT I TYPICALLY GET PEOPLE THAT HAVE NOT FOUND THE SUPPORTS THAT WE NEED OUT THERE AS A SOCIETY.

SO MY COMPANY COMES IN AND WE PROVIDE SOLUTIONS.

TO ADDRESS SOMETHING IAN HAD MENTIONED, OVERALL WE HAD -- WE ALWAYS BUILD A RAPPORT FIRST AND TAILOR IT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL, LIKE I MENTIONED, THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES.

BUT I'M GETTING TO KNOW THE FULL TOTALITY OF AN INDIVIDUAL.

AND THEN I CAN KIND OF FILTER FROM THAT WHAT WE NEED IN THE WORKPLACE.

BUT THAT CARING ASPECT IS AN IMPORTANT -- THE INDIVIDUALIZED PROCESS IN THE BEGINNING IS VERY IMPORTANT.

I DON'T THINK OF IT VERY ANALYTICALLY.

I'M ANALYZING IT NOW FOR YOU.

BUT, YOU KNOW, TO HELP IAN, IT WAS GREAT TO GET TO KNOW HIM AND SEE WHAT HIS PASSIONS WERE.

SOMETIMES THESE THINGS DON'T HAPPEN RIGHT AWAY WHERE THE PERFECT JOB'S NOT FOUND RIGHT AWAY OR EVEN AN IDEAL JOB.

FROM THE CONVERSATIONS I CAK CA DEDUCE WHAT HE WAS INTERESTED IN AND HOW TO GET HIM A LITTLE MOTIVATED.

HE WAS VERY WILLING TO WORK WITH ME, BECAUSE I THINK I CAME IN AND SAID, YOU KNOW, JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE.

WE GOT HIM OFF HIS FEET.

AND IAN'S BEEN KIND OF BACK AND FORTH TWICE, WHERE A LOT OF CLIENTS DO THAT.

I'LL GET THEM A JOB, THEY'LL BE THERE FOR TWO YEARS, THEY MAY LEAVE ON THEIR OWN ACCORD, WHATEVER.

HE WANTED A KIND OF NEW EXPERIENCE, SO WE GOT HIM A JOB AT A CARD SHOP, WHICH IS VERY ALIGNED WITH HIS CULTURE, WHAT HE ENJOYS.

OKAY.

SO THEN WHAT YOU'RE DESCRIBING, HOWEVER, DOES SOUND INCREDIBLY LABOR INTENSIVE.

SO IS THAT ALSO PART OF I GUESS THE WAY THAT THE COMPANY OPERATES?

IS THAT THERE'S AN UNDERSTANDING THAT, YES, THERE IS MAYBE A LITTLE BIT EXTRA WORK OR A LITTLE BIT EXTRA CARE THAT GOES INTO HELPING?

YES, ABSOLUTELY.

AND THAT COMES FROM THE COMPANY FIRST.

MY STAFF IS WELL AWARE OF THAT.

AND WE TRY TO FIT IT IN THE PRICING PROGRAM THAT WE HAVE.

SO OUR STAFF IS FAIRLY COMPENSATED.

AND WHAT WE DO IS WE ALWAYS SAY, YES, WE'LL MEET THE CLIENT FOR AN HOUR, BUT THERE WILL BE TEXTS AND EMAILS IN BETWEEN.

THERE'S A LOT OF B2B.

WE DO A LOT OF REACH-OUT TO COMPANIES.

WE'RE STARTING TO CREATE A GREAT ROLODEX OF COMPANIES THAT ARE COMING BACK INTO THE FOLD.

SO WE COULD HAVE NOT ONLY ONE EMPLOYEE AT ONE COMPANY, BUT TWO.

WE'VE GOT A COUPLE OF PEOPLE AT STOP & SHOP.

WE HAVE PEOPLE AT TRAVELERS.

A WHOLE SLEW OF COMPANIES.

WE JUST STARTED WORKING WITH PFIZER, SO WE'RE WORKING FORWARD TO THAT COLLABORATION.

SO THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO GO ABOUT CONNECTING, BUT I HAVE MY MASTER'S IN COMMUNICATION.

I TRY AND BE AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR.

I TRY TO FIGURE OUT THE BEST WAY TO START THE CONVERSATION WITH A COMPANY.

AND I USUALLY TALK TO THEIR HR PERSON OR RECRUITING.

NOT EVERYONE IS SO AMENABLE TO THE IDEA, BUT WE FIND THE 8 OF 10 OR 9 OUT OF 10 THAT ARE AT LEAST WILLING TO START THE CONVERSATION, AND HOPEFULLY IT LEADS TO A HIRE IN THE END.

OF COURSE.

SO I KIND OF HAVE A BIT OF A DIFFICULT QUESTION TO ASK.

BUT I WOULD IMAGINE PEOPLE ARE WONDERING, BECAUSE WHILE SO MUCH OF WHAT YOUR COMPANY IS DOING, AS YOU SAID, IS ACTUALLY VERY LABOR INTENSIVE, I'M WONDERING IF SOME OF THE HESITATION I DON'T WANT OF SOME COMPANIES TO HONESTLY HIRE PEOPLE WITH NEURODIVERGENT SPECTRUM ISSUES, THAT THEIR CONCERN IS THAT, THIS IS GOING TO BE VERY LABOR INTENSIVE FOR US.

OH, RIGHT, ON THEIR END, YEAH.

SO CAN YOU SORT OF SPEAK TO THAT?

BECAUSE I CAN ALMOST HEAR THAT FEAR COMING FROM A HIRING MANAGER, THAT IF WE'RE ALREADY SHORT-STAFFED, I'M NOT SURE IF WE EVEN HAVE THE BANDWIDTH TO GIVE EXTRA ATTENTION TO ONE EMPLOYEE.

YEAH, THERE'S CERTAINLY THAT CONCERN.

BUT MY COMPANY HAS ALSO DEVELOPED WAYS TO STREAMLINE AND MAKE IT MORE EFFECTIVE, COST-EFFECTIVE.

AND JUST A LITTLE BIT CAN GO A LONG WAY TO HIRING SOMEONE ON THE SPECTRUM.

FOR INSTANCE, ONE OF MY TRAININGS OR TRAINING FROM A GOVERNMENT AGENCY CAN GIVE A DIRECT SUPERVISOR, AND USUALLY IT'S BETTER IF IT'S A DIRECT SUPERVISOR, THE TRAINING WHERE IN AN HOUR, THEY LEARN HOW TO BEST ACCLIMATE, TRAIN, THE NEW NEURODIVERGENT INDIVIDUAL.

THEY COULD BE TRAINED AND EDUCATED ON HOW TO DO THAT IN AN HOUR.

WHERE IT MAY TAKE YOU, WITHOUT THEIR TRAINING, A YEAR OR TWO TO DEVELOP THE BEST, MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO ACCOMMODATE.

YOU KNOW, THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT DOESN'T REALLY HELP THIS POPULATION AS MUCH AS IT DOES -- IT DOES WONDERFUL THINGS FOR PEOPLE WITH MORE PHYSICAL DISABILITIES.

BUT WE'RE FINDING IT DOESN'T DO ENOUGH FOR PEOPLE ON THE SPECTRUM.

SO MY POINT IS, WAYS TO FIND -- FOR THEM, FOR A COMPANY TO LEARN HOW TO BEST ACCOMMODATE, AS COST-EFFECTIVE AS POSSIBLE.

AND I DEFINITELY HAVE WAYS TO DO THAT.

AND WE CONTINUE TO RECRUIT COMPANIES TO MAKE IT AS COST-EFFECTIVE AND LESS LABOR INTENSIVE.

BECAUSE IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE.

IAN, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, NOW THAT YOU'VE WORKED WITH CLEAR WEAVE, HOW HAS THAT CHANGED YOUR OUTLOOK ON PERHAPS WHAT YOU EVEN SEE ARE POSSIBILITIES?

I THINK THAT IF THERE WERE MORE PROGRAMS LIKE CLEAR WEAVE, THAT ACTUALLY TAILOR TO INDIVIDUALS, THAT MORE PEOPLE LIKE ME WOULD HAVE MUCH IMPROVED LIVES.

FAIR WEAVE IS ONE OF THE -- IT BASICALLY CHANGED MY LIFE.

IT'S THE ONLY REASON I AM ABLE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE.

AFTER GETTING A JOB, I WAS ACTUALLY ABLE TO MOVE OUT AND GET MY OWN APARTMENT, LIVE ON MY OWN.

FINANCIAL, PHYSICAL INDEPENDENCE, ALL BECAUSE OF CLEAR WEAVE.

INTERESTING.

SO I GUESS -- IS THIS SOMETHING THAT YOU SEE AS BEING TRANSFORMATIVE IN YOUR LIFE?

BECAUSE THAT'S KIND OF WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE.

YES, DEFINITELY.

DEFINITELY.

OKAY.

SO THEN FROM THERE, RYAN, GOING BACK TO YOU, I'M WONDERING, NOT ONLY ARE YOU MATCHING CLIENTS WITH POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS, BUT ALSO HELPING THOSE EMPLOYERS NAVIGATE OR BE BETTER EMPLOYERS OF NEURO DIVERGENT INDIVIDUALS.

IS THIS SOMETHING THAT YOU SEE AS BEING SCALE-UPABLE, PERHAPS?

BECAUSE AGAIN, NOT THAT WE'RE KNOCKING CONNECTICUT AT ALL, BUT YOU ARE BASED IN ONE REGION OF THE COUNTRY.

OR ARE THERE OTHER ORGANIZATIONS LIKE YOURS?

COMPANIES THAT ARE IN OTHER LOCATIONS?

YEAH, THERE ARE SIMILAR ORGANIZATIONS.

THERE'S LESS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, WHICH IS WHERE WE ARE.

AND I'VE ALWAYS KIND OF WANTED IT TO BE THAT WAY FOR SEVERAL REASONS.

SO I THINK THAT IF YOU LOOKED AROUND IN ALMOST ANY PART OF AMERICA, YOU COULD FIND AN ANALOGOUS TYPE COMPANY, TO DOING ANALOGOUS TYPE WORK, IN GETTING PEOPLE JOBS PLACES THAT ARE ACCOMMODATING.

BUT IT IS SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO FIND COMPANIES LIKE MY COMPANY IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR.

WE DO COLLABORATE WITH THE STATE.

THERE ARE STATE ENTITIES ACROSS AMERICA.

AND WE'RE ACTUALLY LOOKING INTO LOS ANGELES RIGHT NOW.

AND WE'RE GOING TO SEE IF WE CAN COLLABORATE WITH THE STATE.

BECAUSE I THINK IF PRIVATE COMPANIES SUCH AS MINE COLLABORATE WITH THE STATE, I THINK IT'S -- COULD BE A GREAT OUTCOME.

AND I THINK IT IS SCALEABLE, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I'M DEVELOPING THESE SYSTEMS THAT CAN BE USED ON A BROAD, MORE GENERALIZED WAY, PLATFORM.

FOR INSTANCE, I DEVELOP SOMETHING CALL EED A EDED A 'C CLEAR DESCRIPTION -- A RESUME, FILTERED DOWN TO THE CORE ESSENTIALS WITH NEURODIVERSITY IN MIND, NEURODIVERSION CHARACTERISTICS IN MIND.

SUCH AS WHAT'S GOING TO BE A SHOW STOPPER, WHAT'S GOING TO BE A GAMESTOPER, WHAT'S GOING TO BE A STRENGTH THAT'S GOING TO PUSH THIS PERSON FURTHER IN SO A RESUME IS GREAT.

WE STILL INCLUDE THE RELEVANCE MAY.

BUT WE LOOK AT SOME ESSENTIAL ATTRIBUTES OF, AGAIN, EACH INDIVIDUAL.

WE WANT TO KEEP IT ON THAT BASIS.

BUT I THINK IF WE USE SOMETHING LIKE THE SYSTEMS I'VE DEVELOPED, SUCH AS THE 'C' SHEET, WE CAN GET INFORMATION TO THE SUPERVISOR, ESPECIALLY, RIGHT AWAY.

CORE, ESSENTIAL INFORMATION.

PRIORITIZED INFORMATION SUCH AS, IS IT SENSORY OVERLOAD THAT THIS PERSON, THIS INDIVIDUAL, HAS A PROBLEM WITH?

BECAUSE NOT EVERY INDIVIDUAL ON THE SPECTRUM, AS YOU KNOW, IS THE SAME.

SOME HAVE PROBLEMS WITH SENSORY OVERLOAD.

SOME HAVE PROBLEMS TALKING TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE OR BEING SOCIAL.

SO THERE'S DIFFERENT ASPECTS.

BUT THE 'C' SHEET THAT WE'RE USING, AND THAT'S A SCALEABLE THING, CAN BE USED IN ADDITION TO THE RESUME AND CAN BE ADJOINED, SO TO SPEAK, COLLATED WITH THE PERSON AS THEY MOVE THROUGH THE HR PROCESS ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

AND IF THE SUPERVISOR PAYS ATTENTION TO THAT, IF HR KIND OF TOUCHES BASE EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, I THINK THAT COULD BE UTILIZED FOR A BETTER OUTCOME.

ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES THAT YOU'RE LOOKING TO PERHAPS PARTNER WITH?

YOU MENTIONED PFIZER AS ONE.

BUT I'M WONDERING IF THERE'S OTHER INDUSTRIES IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR THAT YOU'RE HOPING OR LOOKING TO WORK WITH.

YEAH, WE JUST BEGAN WORK WITH PFIZER.

WE DID GET SOMEONE AN INTERVIEW.

WE'RE TRYING TO STILL PAIR THAT.

WE ARE LOOKING INTO THE ENTERTAINMENT AND TECH SECTORS.

ADAM MAC DAY, THE DIRECTOR, WAS NICE ENOUGH TO CONNECT ME TO NETFLIX.

HE JUST HAD THE MOVIE 'DON'T LOOK UP' COME OUT.

HE CONNECTED US WITH NETFLIX.

WE'RE IN SUBSTANTIAL TALKS WITH THEM.

WE THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO MAKE A CONNECTION.

AND SEVERAL OTHER COMPANIES.

MONKEY PAW, WHICH IS JORDAN PEELE'S COMPANY.

AND SEVERAL OTHER.

STAGECOACH ENTERTAINMENT ON THE WEST COAST.

WHERE WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE A MATCH.

WE HAVE PARTNERED WITH UCLA'S PAIRS PROGRAM.

THAT'S A STUDY/INTERNSHIP TYPE ENVIRONMENT WHERE THEY ARE LOOKING AT EMPLOYMENT, AND WHAT I'M GOING TO DO IS I'VE BEEN KIND OF ASKED IN TO TRY TO FIND THE ENTERTAINMENT JOBS ESPECIALLY.

BECAUSE I HAVE AN UNDERGRAD IN FILM, AND I HAVE BEEN ON FILM SETS AND KNOW THE EDITING, VIDEO EDITING WORLD.

I THINK THAT'S A GOOD SUBSEGMENT, A SUB-AREA, EVEN, OF ENTERTAINMENT WHERE WE CAN MAKE SOME PROGRESS, VIDEO EDITING.

CAN YOU GIVE US AN IDEA OF HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU'VE BEEN ABLE TO HELP SO FAR?

SO WE'VE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR -- WE'VE BEEN AROUND FOR EIGHT YEARS NOW, I THINK.

SO I THINK WE'VE PROBABLY HELPED AROUND 70 CLIENTS.

AGAIN, EACH PERSON WE TREAT AS THE INDIVIDUAL THAT THEY ARE.

WE GO THROUGH THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES AND THEIR PASSIONS.

AND SO WE'RE NOT NECESSARILY GOING TO HAVE THE SAME NUMBERS AS THE GOVERNMENT.

BUT WE LIKE TO KEEP THE NUMBERS A LITTLE BIT LOWER AND MANAGEABLE SO WE CAN PROVIDE THE QUALITY.

WE ARE SCALING, TOO, A LITTLE BIT.

BUT WE ARE GROWING AS LONG AS WE CAN KEEP THE QUALITY AT A HIGH RATE, THE EFFECTIVENESS.

IAN, I WANT TO COME BACK TO YOU AND ASK ABOUT YOU'RE NOW WORKING AT A CARD SHOP.

WHAT WAS THAT LIKE YOUR FIRST DAY OR SO?

HOW DID YOU FEEL AFTER HAVING WORKED WITH CLEAR WEAVE?

I DEFINITELY FELT MORE CONFIDENT THAN I WOULD HAVE IF I HAD GOTTEN -- IF I HAD SOMEHOW GOTTEN THE INTERVIEW ON MY OWN.

AND HONESTLY, IT FELT LIKE -- LIKE -- THE BIGGEST HELP WAS THAT, I KNEW IF THINGS DIDN'T WORK OUT, RYAN WOULD BE THERE FOR ME AND ABLE TO CONTINUE HELPING ME.

AND THAT WAS THE BIGGEST THING.

FORTUNATELY, THAT DIDN'T NEED TO HAPPEN.

I'VE BEEN AT THIS JOB FOR I THINK TWO OR THREE YEARS NOW?

ABOUT TWO YEARS, I THINK, YEAH.

YEAH, ABOUT TWO YEARS.

AND I HAVE NO INTENTION OF -- AS FAR AS I KNOW, I'M GOING TO CONTINUE WORKING THERE FOR MUCH LONGER, HOPEFULLY.

BUT I ALSO -- THE BIGGEST HELP WAS THAT -- KNOWING THAT, ONE, ALL OF EVERYTHING THAT RYAN DID TO HELP ME GET THE JOB ALSO HAD THE SIDE EFFECT OF MAKING ME BETTER SUITED FOR THE JOB.

THE OTHER WAS KNOWING IF IT DIDN'T WORK OUT, HE WOULD STILL BE THERE AND WE WOULD JUST GO FORWARD, TRY SOMETHING ELSE.

OF COURSE.

AND AGAIN, ALL OF THIS BEING BUILT ON, AT LEAST YOUR TIME WITH CLEAR WEAVE THAT THIS WAS DEFINITELY THE TURNING POINT FOR YOU?

I WOULDN'T -- CLEAR WEAVE WAS THE TURNING POINT, YES.

ALL RIGHT.

LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO SHARE, IAN, YOUR PERSONAL STORY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SHARE THAT WITH US.

OF COURSE.

AND TO RYAN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TELLING US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY, CLEAR WEAVE CAREERS, WHAT IT IS THAT YOU'RE DOING, WHAT YOU'RE HOPING TO DO.

AND AGAIN, ADDRESSING AN UNDERSERVED AND UNFORTUNATELY PERHAPS UNFAIRLY IGNORED SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU, JENNA.

YEAH, THANK YOU, JENNA.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY --

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