Strong, partners launch internship program for people with autism

Jun 25, 2019

The Strong Museum is partnering with several other organizations to offer working internships at the museum for 16 people on the autism spectrum.

Museum President and CEO Steve Dubnik said the program, called Strong Employment and Life Foundations, or SELF, gets to the core of the Strong’s educational mission.

“We are an educational institution, so we continue to educate these young adults … as they have gone beyond high school or into young adulthood,” Dubnik said.

Credit Alex Crichton

He also said the program provides the museum “with the opportunity to create an inclusive environment both for our guests and for our staffs.”

Within the learning environment of the museum, Dubnik said, interns will have the chance to find job training opportunities that meet their capabilities and needs.

“Everyone who comes here, when you’re playing and you’re seeing what’s going on at the museum, you’ll have the opportunity to learn,” he said. “Our staff learns every day from our interaction with our guests that come to the museum, and also interacting with our exhibits. So it’s an opportunity to provide that environment to people who continue to develop and grow into young adulthood.”

Dubnik said one of the partners, AutismUp, will assess those taking part in the program and determine their readiness for competitive employment.

Other partners in the internship program are the Arc of Monroe and Monroe One BOCES.

The program starts in the fall, and adults interested in signing up for the working internship should contact Matt Fico at the Arc of Monroe at 585-672-2222.

School-age students interested should contact JoAnn Genthner, executive principal Monroe One BOCES, at 585-387-3829

This story was produced by WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, focusing on disabilities and inclusion.