PECO partnership program creates job opportunities for adults with autism

PECO
Photo credit Kristina Hammerschmidt/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — More than 80% of neuro-diverse adults with developmental disabilities, like autism, are either unemployed or underemployed.

The Precisionists, Inc. wants to change that.

The Precisionists, or TPI, is working to create more Philadelphia-based jobs for adults with autism. The Wilmington, Delaware-based organization has partnered with PECO on a pilot program, where autistic adults participate in projects like customer care, correspondence, data entry and invoice preparation.

“They really feel a great sense of accomplishment,” said Lauren Feldhake, PECO vice president of customer operations. “The team feels good working with these folks too because they are so diligent about their work and it’s really just been a win-win.

“There are other departments within PECO now that are also hiring some support from TPI — in our transition organization and our support services organization — just because they have heard the rave reviews from one department and now it has grown.”

One of the TPI consultants, Jessica Davies, said working at PECO has been an unforgettable experience. She was assigned to the customer care correspondence project.

“Not only has my job helped me perfect my known talents,” she said, “it has also awakened me to skillsets that I never realized I had.”

PECO hopes to expand this program to other parts of its business.

The pilot program is celebrating its one-year anniversary in tandem with National Autism Awareness Month. TPI aims to employ 10,000 people with diverse abilities in the U.S. over the next five to 10 years.