WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- "I think the special needs community is way more productive than people think," said Gabe Venuto. "I don't think they should underestimate us."
Gabe, 24, was diagnosed with autism early in life. He was essentially non-verbal until the age of 6, at which point he still struggled academically and socially.
"I think companies out there should give every person an equal opportunity to show the world that we're very determined to get the job done," he said.
Gabe got a new lease on life when he was hired by The Precisionists, Inc., a company that provides I.T. and business services to partners.
"This company was founded with the intention of hiring over 10,000 people with developmental disabilities like autism, over the next five to 10 years, said Ernie Dianastasis, Founder and CEO. "We work very hard to understand where and what their strengths are and where they could thrive in a corporate work environment."
This has led to dozens of job opportunities at the Wilmington location alone. Each hired individual is placed in a role fit for their strengths. In order to reach their employment goals, the company is expanding its reach both nationwide and locally with partners like Independence Blue Cross, PECO, Vertex Inc., CAG Truck Capital, Drexel University, and more.
"The most important thing is for these companies to first create awareness about what neurodiversity is and how it can add value," said Dianastasis. "We're experts at doing this, so we can help any organization in figuring out how to best navigate that journey."
Part of securing employment for this population was eliminating traditional barriers to job applications, such as resume-building, interviewing skills, and the ability to self-promote.
"Some have been looking for jobs for 12 years and hit roadblocks," said Kendal Reynolds, the Director of Talent Acquisition. "We really flipped the interview process and said, how do we come about it from their advantage?"
Adults like Gabe have taken that advantage in stride. Now a data analyst, it's his job to analyze and digitize paper records received from Independence Blue Cross.
"At first, it was a little bit overwhelming," said Gabe. "But over time, I learned how to do it thanks to my team."
It's an opportunity that Gabe's entire family is thankful for.
"There is a lot of support for the younger people on the spectrum," said Gabe's mother, Jennifer Venuto. "But as this population is getting older, there's not a lot available to them."
That all changed when The Precisionists hired Gabe. In fact, Gabe learned to drive a car to work and has enjoyed the independence and responsibility that comes with it.
"It makes myself and my husband feel very excited and optimistic for the future for him," said Jennifer.
The month of April is considered to be World Autism Month. To learn more about The Precisionists, Inc., and how they help adults with autism, visit their website.