Jason’s Story


Meet Jason, a 24-year-old student at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where he studies Animation Graphics. Set to graduate and receive a Bachelor’s degree in Arts Animation in 2020, he aspires to a career as a costume designer or animator in the arts or fashion industries. But first things first.  


While he completes his degree, Jason, who is on the autism spectrum, works as a sales associate three to four days a week at Uniqlo in midtown Manhattan, a position he was able to acquire — and keep — with the support of his job coaches Deborah and Juliette at Birch Family Services’ New Frontier program. 


With the help of New Frontier, which provided workplace readiness training and interview coaching, Jason was able to leave his job as an usher at AMC Movie theaters, a position that lacked opportunities for growth, and pursue his new gig at Uniqlo. A smart move, because since he started his position with the clothing retailer in August 2018, he has already been promoted from a Sales Associate A1 position to Sales Associate A2, a boost that provides higher pay and increased responsibilities. Not only that, but he actually likes the job and knows everything about every item in the men’s section where he works. 


According to Leo, his supervisor at Uniqlo, Jason takes initiative with keeping the floor stocked and staffed as needed, communicating needs to his colleagues over a Walkie Talkie. He also trusts Jason enough to handle markdowns, man the register, and work the floor on his own. 


“Sometimes the job can be high intensity and a little overwhelming,’ says Jason, “but I have the tools to persevere.”

While Jason likes his day job, his aspirations toward the arts and the fashion worlds can’t be suppressed. For instance, as a cosplay enthusiast and a regular attendee of Comicon and other anime events, he just can’t help but give his opinion on all the graphic tees that Uniqlo sells. But that’s okay, because between the job-readiness and career support skills he’s developed with New Frontier and his own personal drive, he’s got what it takes to go pretty much anywhere he wants. 


“Sometimes the job can be high intensity and a little overwhelming,’ says Jason, “but I have the tools to persevere.” 


New Frontier staff helps participants maximize their strengths to achieve their personal goals through specialized workshops in four areas of focus. These include Employment Services (vocational preparation, job acquisition, and ongoing employer and employer support0; Health & Wellness (“Yoga & Mindfulness,” “Nutrition”); Community Living (“Essentials of Social Communication”); and Social & Recreation (“Friendships & Dating”). These services allow young adults to continue their educational journey and develop the skills to maintain long-term employment and increased independence. 


With the unemployment rate for people with autism and developmental disabilities reaching 80%, the number of people who turn to Birch Family Services for support continues to grow and the need for our services is greater than ever. With your generosity, we can continue to provide the individuals and families we support with quality services, and have a lasting, positive impact on their lives. 


Please consider making a contribution today. You truly can make a difference! 


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